China's Xi says Belt and Road needs to reject protectionism

Welcoming banquet for the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing

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

Pledging more than $100 billion in financing, Chinese President Xi Jinping called Sunday for close cooperation across Asia and Europe in areas from anti-terrorism to investment as 29 global leaders gathered to promote a Chinese initiative that may increase Beijing's global influence.

"In pursuing the Belt and Road Initiative, we should focus on the fundamental issue of development, release the growth potential of various countries and achieve economic integration and interconnected development and deliver benefits to all", Xi said.

In addition, Mr. Xi said China would encourage financial institutions to expand their overseas yuan fund businesses to the tune of 300 billion yuan.

Belt and Road is seen as part of China's answer to the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal, a regional trade pact involving Pacific Rim countries, but excluding China.

Other delegates include officials, entrepreneurs and financiers from over 130 countries, and representatives of key global organisations such as UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, and worldwide Monetary Fund Director Christine Lagarde.

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

The Belt and Road Initiative offers many practical opportunities to change people's lives, and UNICEF is very happy to cooperate, senior United Nations official Anthony Lake said on Monday.

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Xi hosted delegates attending his "One Belt One Road" forum with a dinner and gala performance on Sunday.

The Chinese government is investing tens of billions of dollars as part of an ambitious economic plan to rebuild ports, roads and rail networks.

The B&R includes a maze of roads and port projects.

"The Belt and Road Initiative was proposed in 2013, and four years on, over 100 countries around the world and worldwide organisations have supported and got involved in this initiative", the Foreign Ministry said in a written response to PTI.

If you drop the term "Belt and Road" in a conversation with an average Singaporean, you'll likely to get a blank look.

In a statement to India Today, the Chinese Foreign Ministry also reiterated its stand on the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which India has opposed as it passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, saying, "It is not directed at any third parties, not relevant to disputes over territorial sovereignty and does not affect China's position on the Kashmir issue".

Xi said the new Silk Road would be open to all, including Africa and the Americas, which are not situated on the traditional Silk Road.

"And ultimately how much political sovereignty is sacrificed, and what is the risk to completion of projects in the event of a disorderly slowdown in the domestic Chinese economy", said the USA investment firm specializing in frontier and illiquid markets.

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