China's Xi says Silk Road plan boosts finance, security ties

China's leader offers billions for new Silk Road initiative

China's leader offers billions for new Silk Road initiative

The two-day Belt and Road Forum (BRF) which is being attended by leaders from 29 countries, including Pakistan, at the Yanqi Lake International Convention Centre has been boycotted by India due to sovereignty concerns over the $50 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).

The gathering of some 1,500 representatives from over 130 countries to discuss worldwide cooperation led by China comes amid a backlash against globalisation and free trade in the United States and Europe.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has arrived in Beijing for the summit, and Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdogan is also expected to attend.

One Belt One Road (OBOR), Chinese President Xi Jinping's dream project, envisages connecting Asia, Europe and Africa by a network of roads, railway tracks and shipping lanes.

CHINA called yesterday for closer worldwide co-operation as President Xi Jinping pledged more than £75 billion for the "Belt and Road" economic scheme.

Addressing the session, Chinese President Xi Jinping said One Belt-One Road Initiative is a mega project to connect the world through economic integration.

In an attempt to place himself as a contrast to US President Donald Trump, who has vowed to put "America First" and supported bilateral trade deals over multilateral engagements, Xi said: "We need to seek results through greater openness and cooperation, avoid fragmentation, refrain from setting inhibitive thresholds for cooperation or pursuing exclusive arrangements, and reject protectionism".

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

"Chinese outbound investment is forecast to total $600 billion to $800 billion over the next five years, a fairly large proportion of which will go into markets related to the Belt and Road Initiative", said Ning Jizhe, vice-minister of the National Development and Reform Commission, at a news conference.

White House adviser Matt Pottinger said the United States welcomed efforts by China to promote infrastructure connectivity as part of its Belt and Road initiative, and USA companies could offer top value services.

Xi said the project has "no political agenda".

Chinese financial institutions will be encouraged to expand their overseas Yuan fund businesses to the tune of RMB300 billion (US$43.5 billion), Xi announced during the One Belt One Road Forum over the weekend in Beijing, without giving a timetable.

He was speaking to leaders and other officials from Asia, Europe and Africa at the event to promote Beijing's "Belt and Road Initiative".

Britain can be a natural partner in delivering infrastructure in Belt and Road countries by supporting the finance and planning needed, Hammond said.

So far, the initiative has garnered support from more than 100 countries and global organisations.

A USA delegation attended, led by Matt Pottinger, special assistant to Trump and senior director for East Asia at the National Security Council.

China will host the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in 2019.

"He further said that it has no geographical boundaries" and it must not be politicised.

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