Published: Tue, May 16, 2017
Worldwide | By Sean Reid

China's new Silk Road promises trade and riches, with Xi at helm


China has touted what it formally calls the belt and Road initiative as a new way to boost global development since Xi unveiled the plan in 2013.

In 2013, the Chinese president proposed the Belt and Road Forum to promote a new worldwide economic cooperation in Asia, Europe and Africa by investing on infrastructures.

Xi said the Belt and Road initiative is meant to be an "open and inclusive platform for development".

The "Belt and Road Initiative" calls for building ports, railways and other facilities in a vast arc of 65 countries.

"In a world of growth, interdependence and challenges, no country can tackle the challenges or solve the world's problems on its own", he said as he sat next to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

USA companies are ready to get involved in China's Silk Road project, an American official said on Sunday, as Washington strikes an increasingly cooperative tone with its biggest trade rival.

India skipped the event in opposition to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), though most of its neighbours, including Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, attended.

Mr Xi urged "a new type of worldwide relations" based on mutually beneficial co-operation and said "we should forge partnerships of dialogue with no confrontation and of friendship rather than alliance". Ten Pakistani laborers were gunned down on Saturday while working on link roads to connect outlying towns to the Belt and Road initiative.

Wary of Islamist militants, Pakistan has set up a new army division to protect the economic corridor.

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On deepening economic and trade cooperation, the leaders agreed to uphold the effectiveness of the multilateral trading system, and work together to achieve positive outcomes at the 11th WTO ministerial conference; promote trade and investment liberalisation and facilitation and enable the general public to benefit from trade, it said.

Xi Jinping, the Chinese president, said the project has "no political agenda", but there are concerns from the United States, parts of Europe and India that Beijing is seeking to expand its influence.

The United States and other governments have said "Belt and Road" is a natural outgrowth of China's status as the biggest global trader, and USA officials have shown interest in working with China.

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

Xi has already pledged more than $100 billion for China's development banks for infrastructure projects across Asia, Europe and Africa.

"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, adding that the Belt and Road initiative focuses on the Asian, European and African countries, but is also open to all other countries.

The CPEC is the most important of the all the six planned corridors of China's Belt and Road project.

It's a milestone event created to promote Chinese President Xi Jinping's grand vision of expanding trade, financial and infrastructure links between Asia, Africa and Europe.

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