China to hold next Belt and Road forum in 2019

Cheryl Sanders
May 15, 2017

The "Belt and Road" project is China's biggest foreign initiative to date as Beijing looks for global stature to match its economic success.

China's grand globalisation strategy will not exclude any party or target anyone, Chinese President Xi Jinping told world leaders said on the second day of a forum in Beijing to promote his idea of connecting the world's economies and boosting growth.

"It's very important for us and our companies that the calls for our projects under the Belt and Road initiative are transparent, that they are non-discriminatory, and that they comply with worldwide standards", German economic minister Brigitte Zypries said at the trade panel Sunday."I think there is still room for improvement in this area".

Xi summed up the fruitful achievements of the B&R construction in the past four years and put forward the goal and direction for building the Belt and Road into a road of peace, prosperity, opening-up as well as innovation, and one that connects different civilizations.

Xi addressed nearly 30 leaders on the second day of a forum on his new Silk Road plan, a huge infrastructure project meant to revive ancient land and sea trade routes from Asia to Europe and Africa.

UN Children's Fund (Unicef) chief Anthony Lake on Monday praised the Belt and Road Initiative and said the organisation is happy to cooperate with China on it.

"Such a broad sweep and scale of interlocking economic partnerships and investments is unprecedented in history", Sharif said.

But some Western diplomats have expressed unease about both the summit and the plan as a whole, seeing it as an attempt to promote Chinese influence globally.

"No country can accept a project that ignores its core concerns on sovereignty and territorial integrity", the statement said.

China has also signed Memoranda with six multilateral development financial institutions, including the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, to strengthen financing coordination for the Belt and Road Initiative.

In the communique, dated May 8, China said it welcomed South America's participation in the initiative, the basis of which covers Asia, Africa and Europe. But they have expressed concern that Beijing might undermine human rights and global standards for lending or leave poor countries swimming in debt.

The article also took a jibe at India's stand, calling it regrettable despite Beijing's offer to go easy on its Kashmir stand.

"We are of the firm belief that connectivity initiatives must be based on universally recognised global norms, good governance, rule of law, openness, transparency and equality", Baglay said.

At the forum, finance ministries from 27 countries, including China, approved a set of principles that will guide project financing along the new Silk Road.

"In advancing the Belt and Road, we will not re-tread the old path of games between foes".

Some of China's close allies and partners were at the forum, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen and Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev.

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