Venezuela hopes no country hinders China's 'fantastic' Silk Road initiative

Claudine Rigal
Mai 15, 2017

But he also called for economic integration and cooperation on financial regulation, anti-terrorism and security — all fields in which China's economic heft would give it a prominent voice.

North Korea's attendance at China's biggest diplomatic event this year raised further eyebrows after Pyongyang fired a ballistic missile early on Sunday, in defiance of calls to rein in its weapons programme.

Xi said the initiative was not meant to reinvent the wheel but "complement the development strategies of countries involved by leveraging their comparative strengths".

The Chinese President, who is positioning himself as a global leader and chief advocate for free trade, seemed to have snubbed India when he said the belt and road initiative respected "territorial integrity".

China is hardly the first government to promote regional trade links. But governments including Russian Federation, the United States and India are uneasy that China is using its status as the second-largest global economy to expand its political influence. The United States and Japan, which Beijing sees as rivals for influence in Asia, are not part of "Belt and Road".

The Chinese government describes the initiative as a partnership.

Putin, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif of Pakistan echoed Xi's theme that economic development would help to nurture political stability and neutralize support for radical groups.

Sharif, at the Summit, also avoided direct references to Indias boycott and its objections to the CPEC but said the initiative should not be politicised.

He said OBOR signifies that geo-economics must take precedence over geo-politics, and that the centre of gravity should shift from conflict to cooperation.

He also thanked President Xi for his historic gift of over $50 billion through CPEC.

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

India has reservation about the project as it passes through Pakistan-Occupied-Kashmir, which New Delhi says challenges its sovereignty by lending legitimacy to Pakistan's claim over the territory.

Other leaders at the gathering included Premier Paolo Gentiloni of Italy and President Michelle Bachelet of Chile. However, few Indian scholars attended the opening session of the two-day "Belt and Road" conference here that brought together leaders from 29 nations.

Washington is being represented by a junior delegation led by Matt Pottinger, special assistant to the president and senior director for East Asia at the National Security Council.

"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. But they also have expressed concern that Beijing might undermine human rights and worldwide standards for lending or leave poor countries with too much debt.

"U.S. firms can offer the best-value goods and services required over the life of a project", he said.

Analysts said a major part of the assistance would go to projects that provide construction and machinery supply opportunities to Chinese companies.

Britain can be a natural partner in delivering infrastructure in Belt and Road countries by supporting the finance and planning needed, Hammond said. "Such state of affairs should not be allowed to continue", he said.

'Guided by our principled position in the matter, we have been urging #China to engage in a meaningful dialogue on its connectivity initiative, ' said foreign ministry spokesman Gopal Baglay in a strongly worded statement released late Saturday.

The B and Road initiative should be built into a road for peace, as the pursuit of the initiative requires a peaceful and stable environment, Xi told the forum attended by 29 heads of state and government besides representatives of over 100 countries and global organisations.

"We should foster a new type of worldwide relations featuring win-win cooperation; we should forge partnerships of dialogue with no confrontation and of friendship, rather than alliance", he said.

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