The Significance of the Belt and Road Initiative

This fall marks the eighth anniversary of the announcement by China’s President Xi Jinping, of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), when he announced the Silk Road Economic Belt in Kazakhstan Sept. 7, 2013 and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road in a speech before the Parliament of Indonesia on Oct. 2, 2013. President Xi today addressed a symposium on the project, discussing in detail its many achievements and continuing intent, functioning as the modern-day Silk Road, for the common good of all.

Helga Zepp-LaRouche, Schiller Institute President, and long known in China and internationally as the “Silk Road Lady,” for her advocacy of the concept, gave three interviews today, on the occasion of the BRI anniversary. She appeared on CGTN TV, in two interviews, one on Global Business, and another on the Dialogue Weekend program; and she was interviewed on her weekly Schiller Institute webcast, titled, “Most of the World Is Hungry for Change.” (See transcripts in this briefing.)

Beginning in the early 1990s, she and her husband Lyndon LaRouche, promoted the idea of the “World Land-Bridge,” of development corridors. The latest books they issued on this were two volumes (2014 and 2018) of The New Silk Road Becomes the World Land-Bridge, along with Extending the New Silk Road to West Asia and Africa (2017). These presented details, region by region, for world economic development.

In each interview today, she stressed the urgency for Western nations to rethink, and give up geopolitics and neo-colonialism, which have brought the world to the brink of nuclear war, worsening famine and persisting pandemic. Nations have been deliberately kept in poverty. These conditions, and induced strife, have produced mass migrations. She said on her webcast: “[W]e have to have a rethinking: Germany, the United States, other European countries should stop this geopolitical confrontation and say, ‘we have a pandemic, we have mass famine, we have a refugee crisis of biblical dimensions, and we must join hands and build the infrastructure, hospitals, schools, industry, agriculture, in all of these countries….’ So let’s just build infrastructure! Let’s build up Africa! This is the natural thing, and the Chinese are doing the natural things and we should stop bickering about it, because we should take a moral lesson from the Chinese in this respect.”

President Xi Jinping reported that as of August 2021, some 170 nations had, in various ways, cooperated with the BRI. Now today, in terms of combatting the pandemic, 110 of these nations have received some of the 1.7 billion doses of vaccine.

Zepp-LaRouche drew attention in her CGTN Global Business interview to the fact that the same principle is involved in what China calls its “Health Silk Road,” and what the Schiller Institute is campaigning for, in calling on nations to collaborate in building a world health system. This means facilities, staff, water, power, food, infrastructure.

We have a moment of special opportunity now. A week ago in Glasgow, COP26 ended as FLOP26. It was a failure for its organizers—the gaggle of royals, banksters, billionaires and the like, who want nations to agree to commit suicide, in order “to save the planet.” A critical number spoke out against this in Glasgow, and their view was again restated yesterday in Abuja, Nigeria, by Foreign Minister Geoffrey Onyeama. He said simply, while standing alongside visiting U.S. Foreign Secretary Antony Blinken at their joint press conference that Nigeria is “a gas-producing country … and we’re looking to gas to help to address our energy needs.” So, he called on Blinken to do something to stop the international financial institutions from refusing to lend funding for fossil fuels development. Nigeria has the right to use its resources and develop.

Now it is the time for all humanity to step forward and take the lead. Zepp-LaRouche replied to CGTN reporter Michael Wang’s question about her opinion of the BRI at a time of uncertainties in the world: “I think it is, for sure, the most important strategic initiative on the planet right now. Because you say ‘uncertainty,’ I mean, these uncertainties show, for example, in the form of a hyperinflationary tendency: You see the energy prices skyrocketing, food prices, and we may actually head towards a hyperinflationary blowout of the entire system. And at such a moment, to have the Belt and Road Initiative which focusses entirely on the physical side of the economy, can actually become the absolute important savior for the world economy as a whole. So I think the existence of the Belt and Road Initiative is the most important initiative on the planet.”


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