At B&R Forum, Xi says all countries should respect sovereignty

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India has voiced displeasure at the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, a Belt and Road project aimed at linking northwestern China to the Arabian Sea.

Russian Federation is ready to join the development of "new modern transport corridors", Putin said, as well as to contribute to "large-scale energy infrastructure projects".

"Chinese outbound investment is forecast to total $600 billion to $800 billion over the next five years, a fairly large proportion of which will go into markets related to the Belt and Road Initiative", said Ning Jizhe, vice-minister of the National Development and Reform Commission, at a news conference.

Tourism exchanges have been increasing thanks to enhanced cooperation between China and countries participating in the Belt and Road Initiative. Since 1999, that figure has surpassed US$7.5 billion.

They described the project as an illegal attempt to grab Gilgit and see it as a "Road of Gulami or Slavery for Gilgit-Baltistan".

Mr. Xi said the world must create conditions that promote open development and encourage the building of systems of "fair, reasonable and transparent global trade and investment rules".

According to Chinese government officials, at least 28 Heads of State and Government from around the world, including the presidents of Ethiopia and Kenya, are expected to attend the two-day forum in Beijing.

"US firms have a long and successful track record in global infrastructure development, and are ready to participate in Belt and Road projects", Matt Pottinger, a special assistant to Mr Trump, said at the forum.

President Xi said in his speech at the opening of the forum that China will contribute an additional 100 billion yuan (about 14.5 billion USA dollars) to the Silk Road Fund.

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Kayonga said the belt and road initiative the vision of Africa's Agenda 2063, which aims to integrate the continent and to develop sustainable economies.

China plans to project the summit as a global acceptance of the initiative. "Instead we will create a new model of cooperation and mutual benefit".

Governments from Washington to New Delhi worry that Beijing is using the initiative to build its own political influence and erode theirs, or that China might undermine environmental standards or leave poor countries burdened with debt.

China is contriving to build bridges, both literal and metaphorical, which are a great offering to the world and we have no doubt in saying that no conspiracy can deter its resolve to backtrack from its visionary initiative.

"This will not overshadow (the summit) in an enormous way but it will absolutely continue to raise USA frustrations with Beijing", he said, adding that Washington was "frustrated" that North Korea was also invited to the summit.

In Ethiopia, the infrastructure includes a dry port near the capital, Addis Ababa, and an electric railway to the port in Djibouti.

The initiative spans some 65 countries representing 60 percent of the world population and around a third of global gross domestic product.

Stating that the CPEC has emerged as the core and flagship project of China's OBOR, he said, "OBOR signifies that geo-economics must take precedence over geo-politics and that the centre of gravity should shift from conflict to cooperation". Chinese banks have set up 62 branches and offices in 26 countries along the BRI routes in the past four years, he said.

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