MOST ministerial officials including Minister Wan Gang, Vice Minister Wang Zhigang and Vice Minister Huang Wei attended the opening ceremony and high-level plenary sessions of the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation (BRF) which was opened at the National Convention Center in Beijing on May 14, 2017. At the BRF Thematic Session on People-to-people Connectivity, Wang introduced the Belt and Road Science, Technology and Innovation Cooperation Action Plan. Huang attended the Thematic Session on Trade Connectivity and gave a live interview to CCTV on Belt and Road science, technology and innovation cooperation.
At the opening ceremony of BRF, Chinese President Xi Jinping delivered a keynote speech. “We should build the Belt and Road into a road of innovation. Innovation is an important force powering development. The Belt and Road Initiative is new by nature and we need to encourage innovation in pursuing this initiative. We should pursue innovation-driven development and intensify cooperation in frontier areas such as digital economy, artificial intelligence, nanotechnology and quantum computing, and advance the development of big data, cloud computing and smart cities so as to turn them into a digital silk road of the 21st century. We should spur the full integration of science and technology with finance, improve the environment for innovation and pool resources for innovation. We should create space and build workshops for young people of various countries to cultivate entrepreneurship in this age of the internet and help realize their dreams,” he said.
At the opening ceremony, Xi also announced, “China will enhance cooperation on innovation with other countries. We will launch the Belt and Road Science, Technology and Innovation Cooperation Action Plan, which consists of the Science and Technology People-to-People Exchange Initiative, the Joint Laboratory Initiative, the Science Park Cooperation Initiative and the Technology Transfer Initiative. In the coming five years, we will offer 2,500 short-term research visits to China for young foreign scientists, train 5,000 foreign scientists, engineers and managers, and set up 50 joint laboratories.”
During the forum, the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) invited four Chinese guests and 11 foreign guests including science and technology ministers, Nobel laureates, professors and outstanding young scientists of eight countries, i.e. Thailand, Mongolia, Russia, Belarus, Serbia, Hungary, Czech Republic and Egypt to attend three thematic sessions on “People-to-people Connectivity”, “Trade Connectivity” and “Think Tank Exchanges” and related activities.
MOST made active efforts to provide deliverables for the forum, including the launch of the Belt and Road Science, Technology and Innovation Cooperation Action Plan and the agreements on young scientist exchange program with Mongolia, on development of Science Park and Innovation Infrastructure in Mongolia, and on Joint Funding of Research and Development Projects with Hungary being included in the Deliverable List of the BRF. Moreover, action plans to strengthen innovation cooperation and support science park development were included in the Joint Communique of the Leaders Roundtable of the BRF.