China to hold next Belt and Road forum in 2019

Posted May 19, 2017

President Xi Jinping called for renewing the Silk Road spirit when addressing a banquet Sunday evening in honor of foreign guests attending the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation.

"It is our hope that through the "Belt and Road" development, we will unleash new forces for global economic growth", Xi told reporters at a conference center in the hills north of the Chinese capital.

Leaders from 30 countries and three key global organizations attending a roundtable meeting of a forum agree to oppose all forms of protectionism, according to a communique.

A top Chinese diplomat today said his country would like India to look beyond mutual differences and join its ambitious Belt and Road Initiative in interest of the development of both countries.

The countries agreed that "we stand for enhancing worldwide cooperation including the Belt and Road Initiative and various development strategies".

At an global summit in Beijing showcasing China's ambitious One Belt, One Road initiative, US delegate Matt Pottinger said American companies had "much to offer" the project.

"We need to seek win-win results through greater openness and cooperation, avoid fragmentation, refrain from setting inhibitive thresholds for cooperation or pursuing exclusive arrangements and reject protectionism".

The two-day Belt and Road Forum is being attended by leaders from 29 countries, including Pakistan, has been boycotted by India due to sovereignty concerns over the United States dollars 50 billion CPEC. Putin and other leaders, including Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, applauded the initiative, which Xi unveiled in 2013.

State leaders of nearly 30 countries have agreed to work together to build roads, railways, ports and other key infrastructure in one of the world's biggest economic diplomacy programmes led by China.

But some officials expressed caution.

Some Belt and Road projects are already raising concerns in certain countries.

While CPEC is highlighted as "flagship project", it included Bangladesh, China, India, Myanmar, (BCIM) Economic Corridor, New Eurasian Land Bridge, China-Mongolia-Russia Economic Corridor, China-Indochina Peninsula Economic Corridor and 21st century Maritime Silk Road.

He stressed that the Belt and Road Initiative is aligned to Africa's vision for integration, industrialization and sustainable development, including the African Union Agenda 2063.

Others at the summit warned sustainable lending practices were needed to ensure countries hosting the hundreds of projects were not saddled with unsustainable debts.