China confirms cooperation with Iraq in the Belt and Road, Development Road initiatives

China confirms cooperation with Iraq in the Belt and Road, Development Road initiatives

Shafaq News/ Chinese Ambassador to Iraq Cui Wei on Sunday confirmed that China is collaborating with Iraq on both the Belt and Road Initiative and the Development Road project.

Launched in 2015, China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) encompasses around a thousand projects, aiming to connect Eurasian countries with approximately seventy nations along the route, including key Middle Eastern countries. This network includes roads, railways, flight routes, pipelines, and internet connections.

Meanwhile, Turkiye, Iraq, Qatar, and the UAE recently launched a new trade route linking the Gulf to Europe. Named the Development Road, this corridor is the latest regional economic initiative following China's BRI and the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor.

The project, finalized during Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s visit to Baghdad on April 22, is expected to cost $20 billion, with significant financial backing from Doha and Abu Dhabi.

As Iraq begins constructing al-Faw port, which will serve as a linkage between East Asia and Europe, nations are moving to establish rail connections with Iraq. Iraq in both initiatives is expected to serve as a transit corridor, though some economic experts have expressed concerns about its impact on promising port in the south.

Chinese Ambassador Cui Wei told Shafaq News Agency, "The Belt and Road Initiative is not just about building tangible roads but is a cooperative initiative proposed by President Xi Jinping in 2013. It focuses on policy coordination, infrastructure connectivity, business ties, financial integration, and people-to-people bonds."

He added, "A decade after its launch, it has become a high-quality public good. The international cooperation platform initiated by China has seen participation from numerous global partners. To date, over three-quarters of the world's countries and major international organizations have joined the Belt and Road cooperation network, expanding its reach to Asia, Africa, Oceania, and Latin America."

"In 2015, China and Iraq signed a cooperation document on the Belt and Road construction, making Iraq a significant partner in this initiative. The two countries have achieved fruitful cooperation in energy, electricity, infrastructure, and telecommunications."

Ambassador Cui emphasized China's commitment to enhancing cooperation under the Belt and Road framework with all partners, including Iraq, adhering to the principles of consultation, cooperation, and shared benefits. He stressed the importance of enhancing connectivity and comprehensive, multi-level exchanges and cooperation, injecting more momentum into global peace and development.

He noted, "The Development Road is a strategic project launched by the Iraqi government and supported by China, aimed at improving infrastructure and boosting economic development."

Cui explained that the Belt and Road Initiative and the Development Road project have similar concepts, and China is keen to align the two projects within a high-quality cooperation framework.

He asserted that "Beijing is advancing the China-Iraq strategic partnership towards new achievements," adding that "the Chinese side supports Chinese companies in exploring cooperation opportunities with Iraq, focusing on detailed cooperation models, and is keen to discuss linking the Development Road with the Belt and Road Initiative."

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