Language counts on Belt and Road

How many languages does an international conference use? The Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing in May featured 18 languages. Yet that is only about one third china’s belt and road of the 53 official languages spoken in the countries along the Belt and Road routes.

President Xi Jinping mentioned the “five connectivities”, when he proposed the Belt and Road Initiative for the first time in 2013 referring to connectivity in policy coordination, facilities, trade, currencies and people’s links.

Language connectivity, as a basic tool of communication, is a prerequisite of these connectivities.

Although Western languages such as English, French and Spanish are more widely used around the world, the official languages used along the Belt and Road routes should also be respected, because it is always easier to express one’s ideas accurately by using his or her mother tongue. Using local languages also shows the initiative’s principle of inclusiveness, mutual respect and equality in terms of culture.

China should attach importance to developing language talents fluent in the official languages spoken along the Belt and Road. Persons with such abilities are expected to play crucial roles in deepening mutual understanding in economic and trade cooperation as well as people-to-people exchanges.

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