Dr. Patrick Ho, a prominent Hong Kong political and medical figure who heads the China Energy Fund Committee and was the key organizer of the “Belt and Road Forum” held in Washington on Wednesday, concluded the conference with a powerful review of China’s historic connections with the world over the past millennia, and closed with five suggestions for President-elect Donald Trump on how to integrate the US into the One Belt One Road project:
1. Consider OBOR a platform to spearhead initiatives and programs to bring closer cooperation between the US and China;
2. Realign trade agreements with Asia-Pacific nations to accommodate the OBOR;
3. Adjust the US posture toward the international development banks and promote their capacity to assist in support for infrastructure development;
4. Help secure security along the OBOR;
5. Get the international institutions to work with the OBOR.
Dr. Ho said that the OBOR is not just connections from one place to another, but connections of hearts and minds, connecting souls, as a means to bring about peaceful cooperation, connecting the Chinese Dream with the American Dream and other national dreams: freedom from want, freedom from fear, harmony with nature, and peace.
His survey of China’s history described three “Knocks On China’s Door” from the West and three “Knocks on the West’s Door” by China:
1. Matteo Ricci and the Jesuit missionaries who found an open door in the late 16th Century, bringing with them western religion, philosophy and science. This was subverted and collapsed in the 18th Century;
2. The British Empire, which broke down the door with the Opium Wars, launching a century of subjugation and poverty;
3. Nixon’s visit to China in 1972, which began the economic cooperation and China’s Rise.
As to China’s knocking on the West’s door:
1. The first Silk Road, as Zhang Qian in 139 BC traveled to Central Asia;
2. Zheng He’s Treasure Ships in the 15th Century, which traveled through the Indian Ocean and the Persian Gulf, and to the African coast. He posted a picture of Ceasar, saying, “I came, I saw, I conquered” and of Zheng He saying, “I came, I saw, I made friends, I went home.”
3. The New Silk Road, announced by Xi Jinping in 2013, to which Obama refused to open the door. Now, he said, we are knocking on Trump’s door. “A big yell” that the OBOR is the institution to facilitate realigning our nations, an impetus to re-thinking policies.