June 28, 2017

Who Is Actually Attending China's Belt and Road Forum?

12 May 2017, 12:44 | Marie Dunn

The remarks from Yi Gang, vice-governor of the People's Bank of China, come just days ahead of the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation on Sunday and Monday. "Through the Belt and Road, China can help India produce goods that are needed in the Chinese market and both sides can work on further expanding market openness", Wang said.

Beijing is seeking to exercise some regional leadership.

"I think China has a long-term strategy, which demonstrates that it wants to take advantage of successful economic growth in this region and beyond, and the One Road strategy is a ideal example of that", said Mr John Rice, vice chairman of General Electric.

The strategy also carries risks. How Xi answers a range of outstanding questions will go a long way in determining its success.

"Since General de Gaulle, we have always ensured that the France-China relation should prevail above political parties, and the ongoing Presidential election would not play any role in the deterioration of those relations".

"During the past eight years, we have been constantly introducing our products, especially gaming ones, to our overseas customers", said Xiao.

Xi will host top officials from 28 nations for the two-day conference on the outskirts of Beijing, though few Western leaders will attend the meeting. China's construction industry is already booming across Africa.

Analysts have expressed concern over the Asian giant's attempt to take a lead in global commerce, cautioning that an integrated world trade system where China's Communist party sets the rules could come with serious risks and hidden costs.

The plan gained steam past year when populist movements spurred a backlash against trade and immigration in the U.S. and Europe. After the 2008 global crisis, Beijing lobbied successfully for more voting rights in the USA - and European-dominated World Bank and International Monetary Fund. "The Belt connects the land, the Road moves on the Sea".

Xi wasted no time filling the void.

Trump's decision to withdraw from the now-defunct Trans-Pacific Partnership free-trade agreement gave countries "added incentive" to join OBOR, June Teufel Dreyer of the University of Miami said.

If successful, OBOR could see China supplant the United States as the main superpower in much of the world - but Xu warned the project could also backfire considerably because of its size. "It's China's idea. But it belongs to the world", he tells his daughter who doesn't understand what he means. "The railway, highway and pipeline capacity along the Silk Road also has to be improved, as do transport facilities", he said.

The summit will feature the likes of Russia's Vladimir Putin, Greece's Alexis Tsipras and the Philippines' Rodrigo Duterte.

The diplomatic source familiar with the communique discussions said those talks had been tough, as everyone wanted a say.

They, however, said the door was "still open for India".

Nepal had agreed, in principle, to become part of the initiative in 2014.

China is far from alone in promoting infrastructure investment.

Though the new Silk Road initiative was announced almost four years ago, and is President Xi's pet foreign policy project, it is still unclear what it actually amounts to. China, however, buys only half that amount from Europe.

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