By Zhong Sheng, People’s Daily

As the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) kept growing in both depth and substance over recent years, Chinese enterprises joining the construction and operation of ports in other Belt and Road countries have not only forcefully promoted local employment, infrastructure and economic development, but also benefited these countries with outstanding maritime transport services.

However, such Chinese-foreign port cooperation is viewed in a biased manner by some in the United States, who recklessly fabricated the theory that Chinese investment in global ports poses as a threat and hyped that China-invested ports would offer support for Chinese navy and make geopolitical risks.

Such accusation is groundless. It politicizes normal business cooperation and makes it an issue about ideologies and security. Its aims at smearing and oppressing Chinese enterprises so as to maintain the so-called “competitive edge” of the United States.

Maritime transportation is the most common way of transportation in international trade. It accounts for about 80 percent of the volume of international trade in goods, according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.

Ports are comprehensive transportation hubs. How relevant infrastructure and support facilities are built and how well ports are operated and managed bear important significance in developing national economy, especially maritime economy.

Every maritime country attaches high importance to the construction and development of ports and take them as an important engine that drives trade exchanges and economic development. All maritime countries are prudent when selecting partners for port cooperation and only select those they consider the best.

Merely based on China’s ownership of ports, some people in the United States came to the conclusion that China has an ulterior motive in investing nearly 100 ports around the world, claiming that the overseas ports of China have gained “important military functions.”

They turn a blind eye to the logic of two-way selection and win-win cooperation in business, but are sticking to zero-sum mentality and viciously making groundless speculations. This only reveals their sour grapes attitude.

Chinese-foreign port cooperation brings important opportunities for development to host countries. Over the years, Chinese enterprises have taken an active part in the investment, construction and operation of ports in countries along the Belt and Road, creating remarkable economic and social benefits.

The Colombo Port City in Sri Lanka, a key project of China-Sri Lanka Belt and Road cooperation, is listed by Forbes magazine as one of the “Five New Cities to Shake Up the Future.” Pricewaterhouse Coopers estimated that the project would bring $9.7 billion in foreign direct investment to Sri Lanka and create over 400,000 jobs for local communities.

A container terminal constructed by Chinese enterprises in Phnom Penh, Cambodia has now become a major hub for Cambodia’s foreign trade. It facilitates the exports of Cambodia’s rice and other farm produce, and is creating huge economic benefits.

The China-assisted St. John’s Harbor project in Antigua and Barbuda has significantly improved the country’s transport capacity and efficiency and realized the country’s hope of becoming a regional navigation center and of promoting diversified and sustainable economic development.

Thanks to China’s advanced management technologies and experiences, the throughput of the Piraeus port in Greece exceeded 5.65 million twenty-foot equivalent units, making it the largest port in the Mediterranean.

It is generally believed by relevant countries that China-foreign port cooperation helps enhance host countries’ capabilities in self-reliant sustainable development, and promotes the coordinated regional development centering on ports and the overall development of host countries.

China launches practical cooperation on port and other infrastructure on the basis of respecting the will of relevant countries. It never interferes in other countries’ domestic affairs, targets at any third party or poses security threat to any country.

The final agreement for a Chinese enterprise’s acquisition of part of a Hamburg port-based container terminal was recently penned, becoming an indicator of the deepening China-Germany economic and trade cooperation.

The United States is also a beneficiary of Chinese-foreign port cooperation. By cooperating with its Chinese partner COSCO Shipping, the Port of Boston has not only saved 9,000 jobs in the region’s shipping industry, but also created another 400,000 jobs. It was described as a perfect example of China-U.S. economic and trade cooperation.

Some people in the United States are pointing fingers at and even standing in the way of the normal port cooperation between China and other Belt and Road countries, which is a typical example of a petty mind making conjectures about an upright man.

They should be reminded that the United States is indeed the country that builds strategic “outpost” around the world. It owns more than 800 overseas military bases, and 313 of them are surrounding China.

China’s port cooperation with relevant countries is totally transparent. China will keep enhancing the connection of high-quality Belt and Road cooperation with development strategies of various countries and regional cooperation initiatives, speed up the development of port infrastructure and regional and international logistic corridors, and work together with relevant countries to broaden the Belt and Road as a path benefiting the whole world.

The smears on Chinese-foreign port cooperation by some people in the United States will only shadow and cripple international win-win cooperation and common progress. They had better stop abusing the concept of national security, stop hyping the so-called “threat from Chinese investment in global ports,” and withdraw its overstretching hand that hinders normal international business cooperation.


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