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BEIJING, January 18, China Daily -- The Belt and Road Initiative is expected to embrace more cooperation in 2018 as it solves imbalanced regional development and improves connectivity worldwide, experts said.

In a recent symposium held by China Shield Consulting, which carries out risk and security assessments for foreign investment, Chinese experts on international relations shared thoughts about the Belt and Road Initiative and the security situations in several countries and regions as the plan marks its 5-year anniversary.

Sun Yuxi, a former spokesman for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said that the world's welcome for the B&R Initiative shows four points that the involved countries and regions share.

"The first is that improving infrastructure is essential for any country or region to develop its economy and raise its people's living standards; secondly, it is universally accepted that the principles of achieving shared growth through discussion and collaboration is pragmatic; thirdly, China respects others' local development strategies and never imposes on others; and fourthly, most participants recognize the importance of improving interconnectivity," said Sun.

"Beijing's blue skies and clean air this winter is also evidence showing the fruit of the cooperation under Belt and Road Initiative," Sun added. "Thanks to the initiative, Turkmenistan's natural gas now can be transported to China, which has changed the situation in the past that heating was mainly supported by burning coal."

Yao Guimei, a researcher of African studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said in the symposium that the plan has tapped the potential for China-Africa cooperation and makes an important contribution to economic recovery in the participating countries.

The plan, proposed by China in 2013, aims to build connectivity among Asian, African and European countries in infrastructure, policies, trade, financing and people-to-people exchange. Since its launch, the initiative has involved more than 140 countries and regions and 80 international organizations worldwide.

"The international and regional situations have experienced twists and turns in turmoil in 2017, however, the cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative is still on-going and has made great contributions to world economics despite the complex geo-political environment and prominent security issues," said Luo Ying, general manager of China Shield Consulting.

"In 2018, the initiative will embrace more cooperation as building a shared community for mankind is known and recognized by more and more countries," Luo said.

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Scenery changes in Kubiqi Desert,North China's Inner Mongolia autonomous region.

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