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China pledges $124bn for its global investment push

China's Xi says Silk Road plan boosts finance, security ties India to boycott summit amid Kashmir concerns
Eleena Tovar | 15 May, 2017, 20:02

The United States and Japan, which Beijing sees as rivals for influence in Asia, are not part of "Belt and Road". At the center of its focus is Xi's grand plan to better combine the rapidly expanding Chinese economy with the development of Asia, Europe and Africa.

China plans to import $2 trillion of products from countries participating in its Belt and Road initiative over the next five years, Commerce Minister Zhong Shan said.

"Spanning thousands of miles and years, the ancient silk routes embody the spirit of peace and cooperation, openness and inclusiveness, mutual learning and mutual benefit", he told an audience of more than 1,500 from across the globe.

Xi hopes to tie more than 65 countries and two thirds of the world's population to its economy.

But US embassy spokeswoman Mary Beth Polley said the two officials did not hold a meeting.

Attending the summit, Dr Sultan bin Ahmed, Minister of State and chief executive of the Adnoc Group, said: "The United Arab Emirates strongly supports the Belt and Road initiative, which will foster economic growth and stability, both regionally and globally, by encouraging positive cooperation, alignment and true partnership".

Xi noted that humans have reached an age of great progress, great transformation and profound changes but the world is fraught with challenges. Economic Corridor Development is making steady progress.

"This is the issue that has always been on my mind", Xi said.

So far, the initiative has won support from more than 100 countries and global organizations, of which over 40 have signed cooperation agreements with China.

India has not sent an official delegation to attend the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing yesterday, and instead criticised China's global initiative, warning of an "unsustainable debt burden" for countries involved.

He praised the initiative for its "immense potential" to promote access to markets, and as "far-reaching in geography and ambition".

Aside from his scheduled attendance in the Belt and Road Forum, President Duterte will have an expanded bilateral meeting with Xi and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang.

Various trade and infrastructure projects have been lined up to link China much to Asia, Europe, and Africa in a bid to promote economic development that is open, inclusive, and beneficial to all.

Russian Federation is ready to join the development of "new modern transport corridors", Putin said, as well as to contribute to "large-scale energy infrastructure projects". He also urged financial institutions to contribute 100 billion yuan.

Xi first proposed the Belt and Road initiative in 2013.

He said his government will provide aid worth 60 billion yuan ($8.7 billion) to developing countries and global organizations.

"The forum shows the world how far China has come toward its dream of national rejuvenation", said Zheng Yongnian, director of the East Asian Institute at the National University of Singapore.

"The main significance of the forum is optics: Making Xi Jinping look presidential and effective at home and making China look rich and powerful on the world stage", said Kovrig. "The pursuit of the Belt and Road Initiative requires a peaceful and stable environment". Named after the historic Silk Road, the Belt and Road initiative was proposed by Xi in 2013 to chart out new territories for worldwide cooperation.

"We should foster a new type of global relations featuring win-win cooperation, and we should forge partnerships of dialogue with no confrontation and of friendship rather than alliance", he said. Xi said the Belt and Road initiative is "a project of the century" that will benefit people across the world.

Terming China as Pakistan's "close friend and trusted ally", he said his participation at the forum was to celebrate the remarkable success of the seminal initiative of OBOR.