China's leader offers billions for new Silk Road initiative

Posted May 16, 2017

On the concluding day of the summit on Monday, Chinese President Xi Jinping said that a total of 68 countries and global organizations signed the One Belt and One Road (OBOR) cooperation agreements with China.

At the same time, Xi said that China will also provide RMB380 billion (US$55 billion) in loans from two Chinese policy banks and RMB60 billion (US$8.7 billion) in aid to developing countries and global bodies in countries along the trade routes.

China's Finance Ministry, the World Bank, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, and the Asian Development Bank signed a memorandum of mutual understanding on cooperation under the Belt and Road initiative.

"We welcome China's One Belt, One Road initiative".

"In a world of growth, interdependence and challenges, no country can tackle the challenges or solve the world's problems on its own", he said as he sat next to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

China was basking in praise Monday for its new Silk Road even as some countries raised concerns over the project seen as boosting Beijing's global clout on trade and geopolitics.

India refused to send an official delegation to Beijing, reflecting displeasure with China for developing a $57 billion trade corridor through Pakistan that also crosses the disputed territory of Kashmir.

According to a Reuters report, Xi said it was necessary to coordinate policies with the development goals of institutions including the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), Asean, African Union and the European Union.

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Xi billed the B&R initiative as "a project of the century" that will benefit people around the world.

A road to "peace and prosperity" could be reached if all involved made joint efforts, although the undertaking still had a long way to go, Xi told journalists in Beijing, at the end of the two-day summit.

India has refused to participate in China-led "One Belt, One Road" summit, or the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) summit in Beijing. It has no geographical boundaries.

Opening the summit on Sunday, Xi pledged $124 billion in funding toward the initiative.

Other delegates included officials, entrepreneurs and financiers from over 130 countries and representatives of key global organizations, such as U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim and Managing Director of the worldwide Monetary Fund Christine Lagarde.

Beijing is seeking to cement its trade relations in Asia, Africa and Europe through the summit, but some fear that these new Silk Roads serve the interests of Chinese exporters above all.

The Philippine Embassy in China said there will be no official agreements signed or alliances formed during the Belt and Road Forum.

"The China Development Bank and the Export-Import Bank of China will set up special lending schemes respectively worth 250 billion yuan equivalent and 130 billion yuan equivalent to support Belt and Road cooperation on infrastructure, industrial capacity and financing", President Xi said.