China Railway Express: Connecting Global Supply Chains

by Wang Yiwei

Poland is a major European agricultural producer, which exports large amounts of dairy products annually and China is one of its fastest-growing markets.

The China Railway Express (CRE) trains, which reduce transportation time from Poland to China – from 40 days by sea to around 14 days by land, are so crucial for Polish companies exporting agricultural goods to China. Agnieszka Maliszewska, director of the Polish Chamber of Milk, said the CRE has been “a very good choice” for them.

The CRE’s development reflects on the amazing success story of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and China’s multilateral diplomacy.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres once said, “China has become the most important pillar of multilateralism and an indispensable, trustworthy force for world peace and development.”

Multilateralism can help to moderate the impact of difficult issues and is therefore an important vehicle for a new type of international relations featured by win-win cooperation.

Since the 18th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party (CPC), China has hosted a succession of diplomatic events in a bid to share the country’s voice, offering it’s wisdom and proposing China’s plan to the world through host diplomacy. And Beijing has embraced the outside world with unprecedented openness through programs including the BRI.

In 2021, China’s cross-border trade with countries among BRI member states registered growth at 23.6 percent, 2.2 percentage points higher than the overall growth rate of the country’s foreign trade in the same period. Exports between China and BRI member states have risen to an estimated 6.59 trillion Yuan, up by 21.5 percent; while imports increased by 26.4 percent to 5.01 trillion Yuan.

In the past nine years since the BRI, China has promoted cooperation among states to meet the challenges, protect people’s health and safety, facilitate the recovery of social benefits and the economy, and unleash more growth potential.

So far, China has signed more than 200 documents on BRI cooperation with 149 countries and 32 international organizations.

Building a community of shared future for humanity is the overall goal and the most distinctive feature of China’s major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics in a new era.

Accordingly, efforts should be first focused on the periphery countries. After making initial progress in Africa – the continent that has the greatest number of developing countries, China has taken further steps to include developed countries by holding dialogues with political parties and building trust among the people.

At the state level, China is building bilateral communities of shared future with Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, Pakistan, and many other countries across the globe. At the regional level, the country enjoys more shared consensus with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Africa, Arab states, as well as Latin America on building a community. At the global level, Beijing calls for building communities of a shared future in the areas of cyberspace, nuclear safety, maritime affairs, and health.

Consequently, the country is achieving the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation not to get ahead of the U.S. nor to bring back its ancient glory, but to build a community of shared future with the rest of the world. The concept is central to Xi Jinping thought on Diplomacy, guiding major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics.

Secondly, it is China’s answer to such questions as what happened to the world, what should we do, what kind of world should we build and how can we build such a world, in order to establish global connectivity through BRI cooperation.

President Xi, in his talks with foreign leaders, has repeatedly said, “The pandemic has once again proven that building a community of shared future is the only right path. Advancing the common values of humanity – peace, development, equity, justice, democracy and freedom, serve as a great banner for our times”.

As humanity faces a growing deficit in the areas of governance, trust, development, and peace, the world today is witnessing changes on a scale unseen in a century’s time. The international community looks to China for more and better global public goods.

Development is the solution to all problems and its pursuit is shared by people across the world. In his speech at the United Nations General Assembly on September 21, 2021, President Xi proposed a Global Development Initiative to enhance all people’s well-being and realize an all-around human development.

He called on the international community to give greater consideration to developing countries and to prioritize cooperation on poverty reduction, food security, COVID-19 response and vaccines, development financing, climate change, green development, industrialization, digital economy and connectivity. Therefore, greater global synergy can help to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which has received strong support from international organizations including the UN and nearly 100 countries.

Development should be sustainable and shared by all. By renewing commitments to the Sustainable Development Goals, revitalizing global partnerships, and reactivating international development cooperation, Beijing has drawn up a roadmap for narrowing the North-South gap and addressing development imbalances in order to fulfill the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development.

Besides, China has also built powerful synergy for more enhanced robust, greener and more balanced development overall. The Global Development Initiative and BRI are constant sources of wisdom and inspiration in efforts to upgrade global governance for bringing about a better world.

 This article was written by Wang Yiwei who is vice president of the Academy of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics in a New Era, a research fellow at the CPPSand a professor at the School of International Studies at Renmin University in China.

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