Since the beginning of 2020, the Secretariat of the Silk Road NGO Cooperation Network (SIRONET) has collected and sorted out the information released by 200 foreign member organisations of SIRONET. To date, these organisations have released around 100 pieces of information related to the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) through their official websites and social media platforms. The following is a summary of information about events released by these organisations:
On January 9, Professor Zhang Li, Assistant President of China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations (CICIR), together with his team, visited the Pathfinder Foundation of Sri Lanka to discuss strengthening bilateral cooperation between both sides. The key topics discussed at the meeting were Sri Lanka’s new economic opportunities, digitization, and bilateral relations between China and Sri Lanka.
On January 12, the sixth Yunnan-Bangladesh Cooperation Dialogue was held in Dhaka, capital of Bangladesh. The theme of the meeting was “Promoting Cooperation between Yunnan and Bangladesh”. The two sides exchanged views on further strengthening cooperation between the two countries and have reached consensus on many issues. Major General ANM Muniruzzaman, President of the Bangladesh Institute of Peace and Security Studies (BIPSS), attended the meeting and delivered a speech.
On January 13, the Pathfinder Foundation and the National Institute for South China Sea Studies held a meeting themed “Belt and Road Initiative and Indo-Pacific Strategy: Opportunities and Challenges” in Colombo, Sri Lanka. The meeting was attended by experts from well-known think tanks and research institutes such as Vivekananda International Foundation, India Foundation, Centre for Strategic and International Studies, and Nanyang Technological University. Participants had in-depth discussions on such topics as the implementation and challenges of the Belt and Road Initiative, maritime disputes and cooperation in the Indian Ocean.
On January 28, the Bangladesh Institute of Peace and Security Studies (BIPSS) said on Facebook that a delegation from the Institute of South Asian Studies of Sichuan University had visited BIPSS. During the visit, both sides exchanged views on China-Bangladesh relations, think tank cooperation, and cultural exchanges.
On February 6, the Chinese Southeast European Business Association (CSEBA) released that according to the Croatian Tourist Board (HTZ), Croatia was seeing a noticeable decline in tourist arrivals from China as a result of comprehensive and strict measures by the Chinese authorities to contain the Covid-19 outbreak. HTZ director expressed hope that the Chinese authorities would successfully stabilize the situation as soon as possible so that the demand from the Far East would recover.
On February 19, India’s Vivekananda International Foundation published an article stating that in 2019, amidst the US-China trade war, top Chinese government officials held several meetings to warn about the surprise emergence of “black swan events” that could destabilize the society. The Covid-19 outbreak may have a serious impact on China’s social stability.
On February 20, China-Pakistan Study Centre (CPSC) at the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI) held a webinar on “Combating Covid-19: Pakistan’s Position and China”, and expressed solidarity with China in the fight against the pandemic. Yao Jing, Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan, delivered a speech at the event.
On March 3, Ananda Goonatilleke, President of the Sri Lanka-China Friendship Association (SLCFA), visited the Chinese Embassy in Sri Lanka, and Liu Dong, Counsellor of the Cultural Affairs of the Embassy, attended the meeting. Liu Dong expressed appreciation for the support provided by Sri Lanka and the Sri Lanka Red Cross to the Chinese people since the beginning of the Covid-19 outbreak. Ananda Goonatilleke expressed hope that the two sides would further strengthen exchanges and cooperation.
On March 5, the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) of Israel published an article saying that the rapid spread of Covid-19 had sparked global panic, and several countries, including Israel, had taken unprecedented measures to deal with the danger of infection. The pandemic outbreak had led to a temporary absolute halt in most of China’s business activities, and its impact on global economy had begun to show. Relevant authorities of Israel must take proper measures to cushion the impact of the pandemic on the Israeli economy.
On April 8, the Institute of Policy Studies of Sri Lanka (IPS) published an article, according to which since 2006, China has gradually become an important creditor to Sri Lanka and the Chinese government has been working to leverage the international capital market to issue loans to other countries.
On April 12, the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI) published an article introducing the measures taken by China to fight Covid-19 and the impact of the outbreak on Chinese economy and global economy at large. The article points out that the international community can draw on China’s experience in fighting the virus and adopt response measures based on local conditions.
On April 24, the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Indonesia held a webinar on China’s experience in fighting Covid-19. Experts at the meeting believed that international cooperation is vital to winning the fight against the pandemic. China’s experience is of great significance to countries fighting the virus.
On April 26, the Chinese Southeast European Business Association (CSEBA) published an article saying that China had donated large quantities of medical supplies to Croatia. It thanked China for its assistance to Croatia in the fight against the virus, and expressed hope that the two countries would deepen cooperation to defeat the virus together.
On May 6, the BiH-China Friendship Association reposted an article by Martin Jacques, Senior Fellow at the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Cambridge, on measures adopted by China to fight Covid-19. Martin Jacques believes that China is shifting its focus from “Made in China” to “Created in China”. During the Covid-19 outbreak, China has taken many innovative and effective measures that are worth studying.
On May 18, the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI) organized the launch of a special edition of Pivot magazine about the Covid-19. Keynote speakers at the event included Ms. Kanwal Shauzab, Parliamentary Secretary for Ministry of Planning, Development and Special Initiative, and Yao Jing, the Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan. Also present at the event were Masood Khalid, former Pakistani Ambassador to China, Huma Baqai, expert from the Institute of Business Administration, Karachi, and Dr. Abdul Rauf, professor at the National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST), Pakistan.
On May 21, the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI) held a webinar to commemorate the 69th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relationship between China and Pakistan. The meeting was attended by Zahoor Ahmad, Additional Secretary (Asia-Pacific), Pakistani Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Yao Jing, Ambassador of China to Pakistan, Khalid Masood, Khalid Mahmood, Salman Bashir and Riaz Khokar, all former Ambassadors of Pakistan to China, and Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry, Director General of ISSI.
On May 28, the Uganda-China Friendship Association announced that an international exhibition on sports, leisure and modern lifestyle brands and products would be held in Beijing from January 14 to 16, 2021.
On June 10, Carice Witte, Executive Director of SIGNAL, Sino-Israel Global Network & Academic Leadership, attended an online meeting of global think tanks on international cooperation against Covid-19, organized by the China Society of Automotive Engineers. At the meeting, the organizer and participants applauded and agreed with Carice Witte’s proposal to re-envision the global governance model.
On June 11, the Uganda-China Friendship Association announced that the 2021 Guangzhou International Travel Fair would be held from February 25 to 27, 2021, and representatives from travel companies, airlines, car rental companies, cruise companies, hotels, insurance agencies, travel equipment suppliers and media outlets would be invited to the fair.
On June 12, SIGNAL, Sino-Israel Global Network & Academic Leadership published an article saying that China had launched a pilot project for its official digital currency, which may be used on a large scale at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. The virtual renminbi may increase the government’s control over China’s financial system and even affect the global economic balance in the future. But its impact on the dominance of the US dollar remains to be seen.
On June 14, the Ukrainian-Chinese Friendship Association announced that Serhiy Kamyshev, Ukrainian Ambassador to China, and Liu Zehong, Executive Vice President of State Grid Corporation of China, met in Beijing to discuss cooperation matters. The Press Office of the Embassy of Ukraine in China reported on this. State Grid supplies power to approximately 1.1 billion customers worldwide. It is the world’s fifth largest power company by revenue.
On June 23, Pou Sothirak, Executive Director of the Cambodian Institute for Cooperation and Peace attended a webinar organized by China Institute of International Studies (CIIS). Discussions focused on the challenges and opportunities of regional cooperation in Asia during the Covid-19 pandemic. Experts from Cambodia, ROK, Thailand, Laos, Myanmar and China exchanged views and made proposals on the approaches and priorities of regional cooperation.
On June 25, the Uganda-China Friendship Association announced that the Appliance & Electronics World Expo would be held in Shanghai in March 2021.
On June 25, India’s Vivekananda International Foundation published an article saying that China-Japan ties have their own long-standing internal dichotomies of conflict and cooperation. It is not a simple transactional relationship but a multi-dimensional relationship where America’s security commitments to Japan conflict with China’s policy of regional stability. The United States plays an important role in the development of China-Japan relations. After the US presidential elections in November, one would be able to make a clearer prognosis for the future of China-Japan relations. But even then, reading the tea leaves on this bilateral relationship remains a humungous task.
On June 30, India’s Vivekananda International Foundation published an article saying that China’s role in Central Asia has increased gradually. Except for the Kyrgyz Republic, other Central Asian countries are authoritarian regimes and are relatively emerging economies. China is perceived in a favorable light in Central Asia in recent years because China attaches great importance to cooperation with Central Asian countries in infrastructure construction and does not question their political systems. However, even being at the quite favorable position in Central Asia, China has been facing several challenges in recent years.
On July 2, the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI) held a webinar on “Shifting Indian Nuclear Doctrine: Implications for Regional Stability”. Professor Han Hua, Director of the Centre for Arms Control and Disarmament at Peking University, attended the webinar and delivered a keynote speech.
On July 6, the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Indonesia published an article entitled “Can the Covid-19 pandemic transform Indonesia-China defense relationship?” Since the beginning of covid-19 outbreak in Indonesia, the Indonesian Ministry of Defense has been active in channeling large quantities of medical supplies from China to strengthen the country’s ability to fight Covid-19. It is pointed out in the article that the two countries should further deepen defense and diplomatic cooperation within the broader historical and policy context.
On July 10, the Jinnah Institute of Pakistan held a webinar to discuss latest developments in South Asia with the China-India standoff. Participants exchanged views on the China-India border confrontation, Modi’s expansionist politics on the disputed Kashmir issue, and emerging strategic shifts and policy options for Pakistan and the region.
On July 10, Spain’s China Policy Observation Centre published an article saying that China and Iran intended to sign a 25-year Iran-China strategic partnership agreement, covering economic, energy and national security fields, which would greatly change the geopolitical landscape in the Middle East in the decades to come and facilitate the implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative in the region. It is precisely the sanctions imposed by the United States and other Western countries on Iran that have forced Iran to strengthen all-round cooperation with China.
On July 11, the Jinnah Institute of Pakistan published an article saying that Pakistan needs to be highly vigilant about the border conflict between China and India, and make special efforts to preserve the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. India must realize that it stands to lose more if it intends to decouple its economy from China.
On July 12, Spain’s China Policy Observation Centre published an article saying that Spain wants to build closer ties with China through the Belt and Road Initiative. Although Spain has not signed cooperation documents under the Belt and Road Initiative, the country still wishes to strengthen cooperation with China in infrastructure, environmental protection, finance and other fields to promote the continuous development of economic and trade relations between the two countries.
On July 14, the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) of Israel participated in the seminar themed “Chinese Investments in Israel: Understanding and Mitigating Risks” organized by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), an organisation in the United States. Participants discussed current challenges with Chinese funding, mechanisms to balance national security and economic considerations, and a blueprint for how Washington and Tel Aviv can cooperate with China.
On July 17, the Jinnah Institute of Pakistan held a webinar on China’s inclusion into the Kashmir conflict. The webinar is an important part of the Jinnah Institute’s strategic security program, which seeks to build a knowledge base around Pakistan’s key strategic imperatives, in addition to striving for stability in South Asia. At the webinar, some participants said that China’s Belt-Road Initiative (BRI) is an inclusive global project that Western economies cannot match, and Pakistan should try to maximize its integration within this. The webinar was moderated by Ammara Durrani and attended by Ambassador Tariq Fatemi, Ambassador Salman Bashir, Major General (retired) Khawar Hanif, Nasim Zehra, Mosharraf Zaidi, and Zahid Hussain.
On July 18, Spain’s China Policy Observation Centre published an article saying that there is currently no evidence that Huawei uses its equipment for espionage activities. The US current suppression of Huawei just proves that Huawei’s technology is already very competitive and has a leading position in the global market. The intensifying technology blockade imposed by the United States hinders the development of China’s cutting-edge technology industry. If this path continues, technological decoupling of the two countries will be inevitable.
On July 20, the Georgian Foundation for Strategic and International Studies (GFSIS) published an article saying that geopolitical processes are becoming more dynamic in many parts of the world, including the South Caucasus. In this environment, close attention should be paid to China’s actions in the South Caucasus and efforts should be made to explore further cooperation with China.