Key infrastructure developments to help spread growth more equitably: Shaukat Aziz


BEIJING : Welcoming China for sharing its success with the developing world, former Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz has said that Pakistan has been a major beneficiary of its rich and deep relationship with China.

“In recent years, the work being carried out under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) will be a game changer for Pakistan. Key infrastructure developments will help connect the country and help spread growth more equitably among the people,” he made these remarks while addressing as a keynote speaker at the World Peace Forum recently held at Tsinghua University.

He said the Belt and Road initiative offered the prospect of enlarged trade, production, and prosperity not only for its more than 60 participating states but also for the entire global community. This bold initiative set an example for the world on how to bring about growth and prosperity through international development cooperation.

“We must welcome China for sharing its success with the developing world,” he said and added, this would help global stability and touch the minds and hearts of millions of people, be win-win for all. All countries would benefit from making the relationship with China more holistic- expand to include security defense and economic growth.

Shaukat Aziz, also a member of Board Member of BOAO Forum for Asia and on the International Advisory Panel of Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) outlined three key trends in the global security order- geopolitical changes which would determine the nature of human condition and the emerging security order.

Admiring China’s emergence as the economic, political, military and technological power in the world, he said at no time in history, it had brought so many people out of poverty in such a short time.

He said the world’s increasing acceptance of China’s emergence on the world stage was expected for a number of reasons.

As a permanent member of the Security Council, a country of its size and historical importance, it was natural that China should play an increasingly active role in the world.

“China already has economic clout – and it is also transforming the economies of its neighbors. President Xi’s Belt and Road initiative is an ambitious initiative which will change the landscape in the region. This bold initiative will allow China much more reach in the world,” he added.

China has driven the establishment and success of the AIIB focused on meritocracy and efficiency, and it reflected the global landscape today, not that of decades ago.
In the wider world of diplomacy, he pointed out that China had always set an example of how to conduct world affairs. It never sought to interfere in the domestic affairs f the country- or use bilateral relations to pressure another power.

He also threw light on key global trend particularly the US decreasing role in the Middle East, the current administration’s trade policies, global financial and economic crisis, Russian role in the Middle East and its strategic partnership with China and with members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

He suggested keeping channels of communication open- even with the most difficult circumstances as dialogue and diplomacy were key.

Expressing a need of a new security order to find a peaceful adjustment between the old and new centers of power, in particular between China and the US, he said that a confrontation between them would be disastrous for global peace, security, and prosperity.

Terming a multipolar world better than a unipolar world, Shaukat Aziz firmly believed the emergence of new powers should not be a reason for people to fear for global stability- instead, it could be a source of strength for the world.

He said the recent historic softening in relations with North Korea was an important step in solving one of the security challenges faced by the world, adding, China’s role in mediating in the talks between the US and North Korea was significant.

He opined that the global financial crisis raised questions about wider and more intensive European integration and the role of the Euro in exacerbating the debt crises in Greece and some other Southern EU members.

The subsequent mass migrations- caused by the conflict of Syria and other turmoil and economic disruptions across the Middle East and Africa- had eroded Europe’s liberal values and contributed to the rise of the far right in several European countries.

Solutions to these issues would only be possible with good quality of governance and –above all- effective leadership, he added.

He also spoke in length on Middle East conflict and its serious repercussions and said the Middle East matrix of crises had become vastly more complex. There was as yet no overarching design to restore peace and stability in the region, adding, “We must put our heads together and develop a new strategy.”

He said in view of the world’s rapidly growing population, it had become essential to plan and execute programs for the inclusive and equal development of all the peoples of the world.

Shaukat Aziz said the global challenges could not be addressed by any one nation as they required the global cooperation of all major countries, working together through effective and empowered institutions.

A vision for such international cooperation has been offered by President Xi Jinping in the concept of “Community of Shared Destiny for all Mankind”.
“We should reaffirm or endorsement for essential international agreements- such as on non-proliferation, counter-terrorism, and climate change and renew our efforts to improve the work of international organizations – such as the United Nations, the IMF, the World Bank, WTO, and other agencies,” he added.

He urged the world to learn a lesson from the Chinese symbol for ‘challenge’- it also means ‘opportunity’ and said some of the greatest challenges we face could also be opportunities to build a better, more stable world.

“Unlocking these opportunities will not only help us on our path to a new global order- it will ensure it brings us peace, stability, and progress- for all Mankind in this new Millennium,” he concluded.

The diplomatic envoys of more than 40 countries attended the opening ceremony of the forum, and 70 think tank scholars from 23 countries participated in the conference.

In addition, about 270 Chinese and foreign international relations scholars and industry guests were invited to attend.

The World Peace Forum is the first high-level unofficial international security forum held in China. It is hosted by Tsinghua University and co-organized by the Chinese People’s Institute of Foreign Affairs.

The Forum was established in 2012 and has been held for six times to provide a platform for strategists and think tank scholars around the world to discuss international peace and security issues.