Published: Sat, May 13, 2017
Business | By Max Garcia

Upcoming Belt and Road Forum to Promote Infrastructure Connectivity Cooperation

Leaders from 28 countries are set to attend, including Presidents Vladimir Putin of Russian Federation and Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines.

Zhao Kejin, Deputy Secretary General and Professor, Institute of Global Development, Tsinghua University, believes several countries along the Silk Road have not yet established a market economic system, and that their domestic markets need more regulation and infrastructure.

Not only would the projects serve to strengthen the hands of China-friendly governments and seal in serious geo-economic advantages, like the Gwadar-Kashgar linkage borne of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, they would over time shift Asia's centre of gravity decisively toward China.

India is likely to be represented by local embassy staff or academics this weekend at a major gathering of leaders and ministers on China's "Silk Road" initiative, reflecting deep unease in New Delhi about the far-reaching project.

The forum will host the United Nations secretary general, the chairpeople of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as well as the presidents and prime ministers of 28 countries and more than 250 ministers.

The principle of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefit of the Belt and Road Initiative has released China's opportunities to a greater degree and won a wide recognition in European society.

A billboard showing pictures of Chinese President Xi Jinping, centre, with Pakistan's President Mamnoon Hussain, left, and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on display during a visit by the Chinese president to launch an ambitious $45 billion economic corridor linking Pakistan's port city of Gwadar with western China, in Islamabad, Pakistan.

A new worldwide airport will also be built in Gwadar.

On an entirely different level though is his signature initiative formally known as "One Belt, One Road".

The initiative aims to redefine the global economy by integrating the economies of Europe, Asia and Africa through an unprecedentedly powerful network of transport and communications infrastructure. It speaks deeply to Chinese pride in their country's explosive economic growth and political clout after a century of humiliation at the hands of foreign powers that formally ended with Mao Zedong's communist revolution in 1949.

No matter how the world situation changes, China's commitment to open and inclusive development will not change.

Erdoğan said that the total length of the modern Silk Road is 109,000 kilometers and that the area covers more than 50 countries in eastern, central and western Asia and central, southern and western Europe in over 40 million square kilometers, which corresponds to 4 billion people and 26 percent of the world's surface area.

"It has already begun to squeeze the strategic space of China's neighbours as well as bend borders".

So far, it's been loosely defined and appears to be including more and more projects of peripheral importance and questionable value.

American officials say Washington wants to work with China on infrastructure.

"It's easy to just give out money", Cheng said.

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