China summons new Silk Road ambitious summit
13 May, 2017
China hosts on 14-15 May a summit showcasing its ambitious drive to revive ancient Silk Road trade routes and lead a new era of globalisation, just as Washington turns inward. Leaders from 28 nations, including Russian and Turkish presidents, Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan, were to attend the two-day meeting at Yanqi Lake, near Beijing. But Western powers seem less enthusiastic, with Italian PM Paolo Gentiloni the only leader coming from the G7 nations.
The forum will promote President Xi Jinping's One Belt, One Road Initiative (OBOR), a massive Chinese-bankrolled infrastructure project to link the country with Africa, Asia and Europe through a network of ports, railways, roads and industrial parks. China's push comes as Washington's leadership in global trade is changing under Trump, while in Europe anti-globalisation sentiment has seriously grown.
“There is a pressing need in today's world to have a shared, open and inclusive cooperation platform to jointly tackle global challenges,” Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told reporters ahead of the summit. “What we need is partners of cooperation that stick together,” he said. OBOR spans some 65 countries representing 60% of the global population and around a third of global GDP. The China Development Bank alone has earmarked $890bn for some 900 projects.