Nanning, known as a “Green City” of China, captivates again the world in this golden September. On September 12, 2017, the 14th CAEXPO and CABIS, two grand events aimed at creating more opportunities for opening up and cooperation between China and ASEAN and between the China-ASEAN region and other economies along the Belt and Road routes, are opened. Here, all the participants will jointly charter a new blueprint for cooperation and usher into an even brighter future.
Lamps & Aspirations
Light keeps us warm. Light brings us hope and confidence. More importantly, light will illuminate our way forward, as we stride together towards progress and common prosperity. “Flower Lamps” are adopted for the opening ceremony of the 14th CAEXPO and CABIS. 16 children carried the flower-shaped lamps onto the stage. 16 leaders turned on the lamps to launch the two events. The lamps then ‘flowed” along the “rivers” that link China, the 10 ASEAN member states and Kazakhstan (the Special Partner of the 14th CAEXPO and a major country along the Silk Road Economic Belt). Meanwhile, 42 flower lamps rose to echo with the 16 ones on the stage, illuminating the “roads” for China, ASEAN and countries along the Belt and Road routes to pursue their shared aspirations for peace, development and prosperity. Four years ago, Chinese President Xi Jiping put forward the initiative of building the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, also known as the Belt and Road Initiative, gaining active responses around the world. Fours years on, this initiative has been translated from consensus into action, and from vision into reality. The 14th CAEXPO and CABIS which gathered the political and business communities and participants from all walks of life of China, the 10 ASEAN member states, Kazakhstan and other countries along routes will carry forward the silk road spirit and herald a new round of cooperation for reciprocal and win-win outcomes among all these countries.
Brunei Darussalam, Country of Honor of the 14th CAEXPO
Before the opening ceremony started, an art troupe from Brunei Darussalam, the Country of Honor of the 14th CAEXPO, presented folk dancing for warm-up. On the backdrop screen are shown pictures of landscape, culture and traditions and landmark buildings of the country. It is the second time for Brunei to be the country of honor for the CAEXPO since this mechanism was launched at the 4th CAEXPO in 2007. At that year, His Royal Highness Crown Prince Al-Mutadee Billah visited the event by heading a delegation and addressed the opening ceremony. Over the past 10 years, Brunei engages in wide-ranging cooperation with China on the CAEXPO platform, not only showcasing its distinctive products such as Halal food, handicrafts, ICT products and services, etc. and tapping into the Chinese market successfully, but also bringing in investment from China to Brunei and concluded a number of bilateral cooperation projects, including the Brunei-Guangxi Economic Corridor now being implemented on schedule. Time flies. Being the
country of honor for another time after 10 years, Brunei became a highlight of the 14th CAEXPO. His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah visited the CAEXPO again after his first visit in 2006. In his speech, His Majesty called on the ASEAN member states to strengthen relations with China and looked forward to win-win partnership between Brunei and China.
The Tree of Life Bearing Bountiful Fruits
14 pictures were hung on wall around the Osmanthus Hall, the venue of the opening ceremony. Apart from 13 ones about the cities of charm of China and the 10 ASEAN countries, the landmark building of Kazakhstan, the Bayterek tower, also called the Tree of Life, will surely draw your attention with its typical Central Asia style. Kazakhstan is the Special Partner of the 14th CAEXPO, also the first special partner country among the countries sitting along the Silk Road Economic Belt. It opened a new chapter in history of the CAEXPO. It represents a historic breakthrough made by the CAEXPO in bringing new dimensions to regional cooperation and deepening cooperation within the Belt and Road framework. Kazakh first deputy prime minister Askar Myrzakhmetov participated in the 14th CAEXPO and addressed the opening ceremony along with Chinese vice premier Zhang Gaoli, His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei, Cambodian prime minister Samdech Hun Sen, Vietnamese executive deputy prime minister Truong Hoa Binh
and deputy prime minister Sonexay SIPHANDONE of Lao PDR. Since their inceptions in 2004, the CAEXPO and the CABIS have always got full support from leaders of China and the 10 ASEAN countries. Both events provide important platforms for friendly exchanges and mutually-beneficial cooperation between China and ASEAN in various fields, such as politics, diplomacy, economy, trade, culture and people-to-people exchanges. With Kazakhstan’s presence, these high-end events will have more friends included into their “circles of friends”, and will beyond doubt play a greater role in a larger scope.
“Silk Roads” Cooperation in the Right Direction
Before the opening ceremony started, inside the holding room, models of compass were used as signing boards for state leaders visiting the 14th CAEXPO, symbolizing that the Belt and Road cooperation should be moved forward in the right direction and should lead all the countries concerned to their shared destination. The 14th CAEXPO is themed on “jointly building the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, promoting regional economic integration through tourism”. This is a highly relevant theme, for 2017 marks the China-ASEAN Year of Tourism Cooperation. The 14th CAEXPO will lend new impetus to friendly exchanges and wide-ranging cooperation, including trade, investment and tourism, between China and ASEAN, and will upgrade the China-ASEAN FTA and lift regional economic cooperation to a new high.
Southern Transport Corridor
An achievements showcase session was arranged at the opening ceremony. 5 businesses who represented Chongqing, Guangxi, Guizhou, Gansu and Singapore were invited to jointly launch the session, which showcased the achievements that have been made by China and Singapore in strengthening bilateral connectivity and shaping the multi-model transport corridor, including sea, land and air transport. The Southern Transport Corridor is the third national project for China-Singapore connectivity. The corridor, once built, will connect China’s southwestern regions with ASEAN countries and other countries along the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, and will complement with the Chongqing-Singapore-Europe freight rail and that runs through Zhengzhou of China, Singapore and European countries, linking China with Central and West Asia and Europe much closer. This corridor will stand on the land where the Silk Road Economic Belt, the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road and the Yangtze River Economic Belt meet. It will become an important passage for countries along the routes to integrate and share their resources and expand mutual market access, and an inexhaustible source of energy driving international and regional economic and cultural engagement and cooperation.