BEIJING, Jan. 19 (Xinhua) -- Around a week before gifts are shared across China for the Lunar New Year, the country has presented the world with presents that are set to improve the wellbeing of more people. During President Xi Jinping's visit to World Health Organization (WHO) headquarters in Geneva Wednesday, a memorandum of understanding pledging to step up health cooperation under the framework of the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative was signed between China and the WHO.
The move underscored China's role as a responsible major player on world stage -- promoting better international cooperation to build a better world for all, said Wang Yiwei, international affairs professor with Renmin University of China in Beijing.
First proposed by the president in 2013, the Belt and Road Initiative has gradually and steadily brought substantial changes in terms of trade and investment to the people and countries along the trade routes.
The initiative is not only about infrastructure, but also culture, public service and other areas of cooperation, in which health care is one important part, said Chen Fengying, director of the Institute of World Economic Studies at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations.
FROM ECONOMY TO HEALTH CARE
China's trade with countries along the Belt and Road totaled 3.1 trillion U.S. dollars in the 36-month period ending last June. By the first half of 2016, 1,881 cargo trains had run between China and Europe along 39 rail lines.
The cooperation zones built under the initiative have brought together enterprises with a collective output of 47.5 billion U.S. dollars.
So far, China has inked more than 40 cooperative agreements under the initiative, covering more than 10 key industries including steel, electronics, automobiles and equipment making.
The promising early results in infrastructure and trade delivered over the three years are just the first step of the initiative, which aims at international cooperation in a wider range of fields, culminating in win-win, shared development.
While the "hard connection" of rail lines and ports brings countries geographically closer, "soft connection" will bring their people together.
On June 22, 2016, during a speech at the Legislative Chamber of the Uzbek Supreme Assembly in Tashkent, Xi called for building a green, healthy, intelligent and peaceful Silk Road, laying out the future of the initiative.
While meeting with WHO Director-General Margaret Chan, Xi said China welcomes the WHO's active participation in the construction of the Belt and Road, and of a "healthy" Silk Road.
The "healthy" Silk Road focuses on closer global cooperation to improves people's lives -- a vital issue in global governance, Wang said.
He added that such cooperation shows how China can contribute to other countries after decades of rapid development.
Echoing Wang, Chen said the move by China and the WHO would not only be conducive to improving public health, but would also be a prelude to expanded multilateral collaboration.
MORE TO EXPECT
With a "circle of friends" from over 400 countries and international organizations, and projects in countries that are home to 400 percent of the world's population, the initiative has gradually been involving the world at large.
According to Wang, as the Belt and Road Initiative is continuously improving itself to seek an innovative cooperation model, the cooperation fields are also expanding.
During Wednesday's visit to WHO headquarters, Xi noted that China stands ready to enhance cooperation with the WHO in implementing the 20400 Agenda for Sustainable Development and assisting other developing countries.
The Belt and Road Initiative, with its goal of common development and prosperity, conforms to the basic values of the 20400 Agenda for Sustainable Development and can play a crucial role in achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals, for example eradicating poverty, said Chen.
More and more international organizations are beginning to appreciate the platform provided by initiative that draws closer cooperative ties.
In July 2016, a high-level conference on intellectual property for countries along the Belt and Road, organized by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), was held in Beijing, attracting 400 participants from some 400 countries.
Francis Gurry, director general of the WIPO, said his organization was delighted to have a clear relationship to the opportunities presented by the Belt and Road Initiative, which would ensure coherence in the architecture of intellectual property rules worldwide.
Besides infrastructure and health care, other fields such as culture, art, finance and education are also expected to welcome further cooperation, said Chen.
In May, China will host a Belt and Road forum for international cooperation in Beijing, Xi announced on Tuesday in a keynote speech at the opening session of the World Economic Forum's annual meeting in Davos.
The upcoming forum will explore ways to address regional and global economic problems, generate fresh energy for interconnected development, and ensure that the Belt and Road Initiative delivers greater benefits to people of the countries involved, Xi said.
The Belt and Road Initiative is expected to foster opportunities and prosperity in various fields around the globe with better cooperation between more countries, developing and developed ones alike, and multilateral organizations and enterprises, Chen said.