Two sessions- China to boost cooperation innovation under the Belt & Road initiative amid debt trap accusations

15 Mar 2019

By Mmapula Molapong

The People’s Republic of China’s largest political event of the year dubbed as the “two sessions” is still underway in the capital Beijing and is expected to end on the 15th of March 2019. The two sessions include the National People’s Congress NPC which is the legislative body and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference CPPCC which acts as the political advisory body. These two bodies deliver what is similar to the state of the nation address.

The huge spectacle graced by legislators and advisors from different provinces and both local and international media is China’s most important political season.

You can tell it’s such a huge affair by the long queues of journalists waiting to go through the many security checks, and the heavy security presence that is placed across the city leading to the venue. The media is met with a high level of security all the way to the entrance of the Great Hall of the people.

The Belt & Road Initiative BRI has been one of the major highlights of the two sessions despite claims by international media that the BRI is a debt trap for countries that have signed up for it. The legislators of the People’s Republic are adamant that the BRI is a project for the world and a win-win economic cooperation. Botswana supports this initiative and is one the African countries that benefits from it. China has funded a lot of infrastructure developments in Botswana including construction of schools and roads. A lot of Batswana are also studying in various universities across China.

On Tuesday the NPC Premier of the state council, Li Keqiang noted that last year a symposium was held to mark the fifth anniversary of the BRI which was used to outline the future of the initiative and make sure it builds momentum and produces concrete outcomes. “To date, a total of 171 inter-governmental cooperation documents have been signed with over 150 countries and international organizations.”

Keqiang said they will ensure the success of the second BRI Forum for international cooperation slated for April 2019. “We will seek coordination between China’s development plans and those of other countries along the BRI routes. Focusing on major projects including infrastructure construction and industrial-capacity cooperation, we will address key problems such as those related to financial support, investment environments, risk management and security to ensure cooperation produces more results.”

On Friday the Chinese State Councillor and Foreign minister, Wang Yi addressed the media and discredited reports that say BRI is a debt trap, stating that it is beneficial to all. He reiterated that China and Africa have always had good relations and that the friendship is unbreakable. He said this year’s BRI forum is expected to be bigger. “There will be more foreign heads in attendance, thousands of delegations from different countries and more side events.”

The BRI was proposed by president Xi Jingping in 2013.

Wang also responded to the Huawei lawsuit against the United States government backing the tech giant by saying “China resolutely protects the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese businesses and citizens to use legal tools to protect their legitimate rights. We support the company and individual in question in seeking legal redress to protect their own interests and refusing to be victimized like silent lambs. Justice will have its day.”

Chinese tech giant Huawei is suing the US government to fight back against accusations that its technology poses global security threat. Huawei recently said that it has filed a lawsuit in Texas challenging a recent US law that bans federal agencies from buying its products.