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BRI forum to draw 37 national leaders

Cao Desheng
Updated: Apr 20,2019 7:13 AM     China Daily

State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi announced on April 19 that 37 heads of state or government will attend the second Belt and Road Forum on International Cooperation to be held in Beijing in the coming week.

Over 5,000 participants from more than 150 countries are scheduled to attend the three-day event, which starts on April 18, Wang told reporters at a news conference.

President Xi Jinping will deliver the keynote speech at the forum’s opening ceremony and chair the leaders’ roundtable summit, Wang said. The forum, with “Belt and Road Cooperation: Shaping a Brighter Shared Future” as its theme, aims to bring about high-quality cooperation under the initiative.

Wang said that the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative is not a geopolitical tool or a debt trap for participating countries, but a platform for cooperation.

He said the initiative has delivered real benefits for participating countries. The “debt trap” label cannot be applied to the Belt and Road, and no participating country would agree with that designation, Wang added. He said comments about the BRI should be based on facts.

Trade volume between China and countries participating in the BRI has exceeded $6 trillion, investments have grown to over $80 billion and around 300,000 jobs have been created in the countries involved in the initiative, officials said.

Wang said the BRI has an open, inclusive and win-win nature, and China welcomes any country to take part.

“All countries have the freedom to attend, but I think no country has the right to prevent any other country from participating. This is an open, inclusive platform,” he said.

The BRI is an important platform for China to develop international cooperation under the principles of extensive consultation and joint contributions for shared benefits, officials said. It has won broad international participation since it was proposed by Xi in 2013, they said.

Twenty-nine international organizations and 126 countries, including developed and developing nations, have signed 174 cooperation documents with China on the BRI, officials said.

Wang said the BRI stands for multilateralism, and participating countries are expected to voice their support for multilateralism and the building of open global economy at the forum, which takes place with unilateralism and protectionism on the rise.

China will continue to work with other countries to deepen policy alignment and economic integration and build an even stronger network for partnership, Wang said.

He called on all countries to adhere to internationally accepted rules and standards, pursue the best international practices and promote the sustainable development of cooperation using the BRI.