BEIJING, CHINA — Some 100 delegates representing various media groups from 50 different countries spanning 3 continents on Wednesday (June 20) formally convened at the International Convention Center of the Communication University of China (CUC), for the second round of the ‘Belt and Road Journalists’ Forum.’

The global media event is in support of China’s initiative to revive the fabled ‘Silk Road’ trade routes that once linked the old empires of China to that of the Romans more than 200 years before Christ.

The trade route traversed all the countries and regions lying in-between Asia, Africa and Europe, from Beijing to Italy.

The idea of ‘reviving’ the old economic and trade activities and relationship along this ancient path was first broached in 2013 by Pres. Xi Jinping in a visit to Indonesia and Kazakhstan.

Jointly organized by the ‘All China Journalists’ Association’ (ACJA), CUC and the ‘China Media Group’ (CMG), today the world’s biggest media entity in a single country, the week-long media event seeks to promote the ‘Silk Road Spirit,’ according the ACJA executive secretary, Ms. Wang Dongmei.

This, she added, is anchored on four “key principles,” namely: peace and cooperation, openness and inclusiveness, mutual learning; and, mutual benefit and ‘win-win’ outcomes for all participants.

Representing the Philippines in the biggest gathering thus far of media groups the world over is the National Press Club of the Philippines (NPC), headed by its president and broadcast journalist, Rolando Gonzalo, and its vice president, Paul M. Gutierrez, of the Journal Group.

Their presence is the direct result of an agreement signed between the NPC and the ACJA last April in Manila that calls for, among others, stronger bilateral relationship between the two media groups.

"Our attendance in this forum is just the beginning of a more beneficial relationship between our respective organizations and also a direct result of the warming relationship between China and the Philippines under Pres. Rodrigo Duterte,” said Gutierrez.

At nearly three times the number of attendees, organizers of the event said they are much pleased with the number of participants. During the first B&R forum in May 2017, there were only 32 delegates coming from 28 countries.

On Tuesday, a day before the formal opening ceremony, the headcount had already reached 100 delegates coming from 50 countries representing almost the same number of media groups to include those never traversed by the ancient Silk Road routes such as Cuba, Argentina, Mexico, Peru, Papua New Guinea and Switzerland.

On the other hand, nearly all the countries along the Silk Road routes were present, from Mongolia to Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Kazakhstan, Tunisia, Pakistan, Sudan, Nigeria, South Africa, Israel and Egypt and in Southeast Asia, from Laos to Thailand.

In her speech, Wang said that in pursuit of the ‘Four Principles’ agreed during Wednesday’s forum and to further consolidate the new global media alliance to be called the ‘Belt and Road Alliance of Journalists’ Organizations’ (BRAJO), the ACJA would draft a “constitution” for the body’s adoption and approval in another forum being planned to be held next year.

Other “pragmatic cooperation activities” being planned for the immediate future is the establishment of a “news exchange cooperation agreement,” “journalist training and research programs” centered at the CUC and an international photo contest to be called the ‘Belt and Road News Photo Award.’ (Paul M. Gutierrez/PR)