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Belt and Road initiative extends to countries apart from Asia, Europe

23 May 2017

Xi confirmed that China has so far signed cooperative agreements with 68 countries and worldwide organizations concerning the initiative, including those signed during the forum. Malaysia signed nine memorandums of understanding and agreements with China, including several new commercial deals worth more than US$7.22 billion (S$10.1 billion).

While some details remain sketchy - and some countries are skeptical or sitting things out for now - China has elevated the plan to a national strategy.

Some Western diplomats have expressed unease about the initiative, seeing it as an attempt to promote Chinese influence globally.

"This part of history shows that civilization thrives with openness", he said, "and nations prosper through exchange".

China will also provide emergency food aid worth 2 billion yuan to developing countries along the Belt and Road and make an additional contribution of 1 billion US dollars to the Assistance Fund for South-South Cooperation. "We are against it and consider it counterproductive, damaging, dangerous".

President-elect Trump has threatened a trade war with China, yet he's bragged about his great business relationship with the Chinese. The project will involve a huge network of ports, railways, roads and industry parks. An official at a development bank said there are very few suitable infrastructure projects in developing nations the institution could invest in. "China is now in the process of adjusting these policies".

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African countries are already flooded with Chinese products.

Despite China's pledges of inclusiveness and a level playing field for all, there are concerns over transparency issues and the country's growing clout and its intentions. "While that is going on, China is trying to connect with the world".

He added: "We will not resort to outdated geopolitical maneuvering".

"However, the absence of New Delhi in the B&R has not affected the forum in Beijing, and it will exert even less effect on the progress the initiative will make in the world", it said. "China has learned this lesson well and so has Africa", said the President.

"That said, there is still a long way to go, as the Belt and Road is a long-term undertaking".

"This is going to be the kind of initiative that will put an end to terrorism", Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told the Beijing forum.

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

Addressing the media on the second and final day of the event, Xi urged the countries to shun protectionism and enhance dialogue to "settle disputes and resolve differences in maintaining regional stability".

"There's huge financing demand in the infrastructural construction along the Belt and Road, which is beyond one country's capability and has to rely on market force pooling capital across the world", Mr Zhou wrote.

"Now that we are a member of OBOR (One Belt One Road), we can get some specific project assistance from China".

"The Belt and Road development does not shut out, nor is it directed against, any party".

Zhao Hong cautions that for now, the initiative is largely a vision.

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"The most important directions of conjugating (the Eurasian Economic Union and the initiative promoted by China) are the financial sphere and technical standards and also solving environmental cooperation issues", Bordachev said.

Belt and Road initiative extends to countries apart from Asia, Europe