Sunday, 23 July, 2017

China to hold Belt and Road Forum in May

Most major Western leaders to skip China's New Silk Road summit Xi to attend Belt and Road forums opening ceremony
Melinda Barton | 20 April, 2017, 07:16

China said Tuesday it will hold a two-day forum in mid-May involving at least 28 heads of state and government leaders with the aim of promoting global cooperation while establishing a counterpoint to U.S. President Donald Trump's inward-looking economic policies.

The B&R initiative does not have geographic boundaries, because essentially it is an initiative of worldwide cooperation, and it could and should be open to every member among the global community, Wang Yi said.

Wang said the upcoming edition will be the highest level worldwide forum to be held since the proposal of the initiative.

The B&R Forum for International Cooperation will be held on May 14 and 15 in Beijing, and Chinese President Xi Jinping is set to attend the opening ceremony and host a round table summit of the leaders, Wang said Tuesday morning, the Xinhua News Agency reported. At the invitation of Xi, 28 heads of state and government leaders will attend the forum.

British Prime Minister Theresa May was widely expected to attend as part of her efforts to strengthen Britain's business and diplomatic links with China in the post-Brexit era.

Or maybe their many disagreements with China over foreign policy issues might be the prime motivator. Instead, finance minister Philip Hammond would be the United Kingdom representative at the summit.

The gathering meets an increasingly urgent need for a new cooperation platform that brings countries together to pull the world out of the economic mire and inject fresh energy into interconnected development.

Countries agreeing to send their prime ministers to the summit are Cambodia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Malaysia, Mongolia, Pakistan, Poland, Serbia, Spain and Sri Lanka. Some other countries in Asia Pacific including Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Thailand and Australia are not sending heads of governments.

Putting to rest any doubt about China/Russia relations as fallout from recent British geopolitical attempted sabotage, Minister Wang said, "As for Russia and China, we, the leaders of our countries, have agreed on conjugating the EAEU and One Belt, One Road".

"Indian friends have said to us that One Belt, One Road is a very good suggestion", he said.

The vice-premier also hoped that young people from every country can appreciate the world with shared views, promote exchanges and harmonious co-existence of different civilizations, and contribute to a community of common destiny for all mankind.

The countries sending presidents and prime ministers to the event are: Argentina, Belarus, Chile, Czech Republic, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Laos, Philippines, Russia, Switzerland, Turkey, Uzbekistan and Vietnam.

Another task of the forum will be to push forward delivery of cooperative projects, Wang said.