Published: Mon, May 15, 2017
Hi-Tech | By Ellis Neal

China opens new Silk Road summit

In a statement, the Department of Foreign Affairs extended the country's congratulations to Chinese President Xi Jinping on his "bold and fresh" global cooperation initiative, saying Manila looks forward to cooperating on "convergent priorities".

China is North Korea's chief ally and is seen by many as the main means for applying greater pressure on Pyongyang regarding its weapons programs.

White House adviser Matt Pottinger said the United States welcomed efforts by China to promote infrastructure connectivity as part of its Belt and Road initiative, and USA companies could offer top value services.

PM Sharif, who had arrived in the Chinese capital on Friday to participate in the One Belt, One Road (OBOR) forum, said the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) must not be politicised, adding that the corridor remains open to all countries.

On the future plans of the fund, Yi said it will facilitate the alignment of the Belt and Road Initiative with the development strategies of countries involved in the initiative.

China and Russian Federation already are partners, along with Central Asian governments, in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, a security group widely seen as an effort to counter USA influence in the region.

"We should build an open platform of cooperation and uphold and grow an open world economy", he told the opening of the two-day gathering in Beijing.

Attendees walk past decorations for the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing, China, Sunday, May 14, 2017.

Jose de Venecia Jr., the Philippines' special envoy for intercultural dialogue, said the South China Sea could be converted into a "zone of friendship, commerce, and development" instead of just being a source of conflict among the concerned parties.

"No matter if they are from Asia and Europe, or Africa or the Americas, they are all cooperative partners in building the Belt and Road". Other delegates at the forum include officials, entrepreneurs, financiers and journalists from over 130 countries, and representatives of key global organisations.

Erdogan said Belt and Road was "going to be the kind of initiative that will put an end to terrorism".

However, many countries remain wary of the OBOR strategy.

Xi pledged to pump an extra 124 billion in funds into the initiative, calling it "a project of the century" in a "world fraught with challenges".

CPEC, which connects Pakistan to East and West Asia, has not only made the country a destination for cross-regional trade, but also a channel through which such trade flows, the prime minister said.

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.

India is represented only by local embassy staff and academics at the forum, reflecting New Delhi's deep unease about the far-reaching project.

"Pursuing the B&R initiative, China has no intention to form a small group detrimental to stability", Xi was quoted as saying by the state-run Xinhua news agency.

Leaders from 29 countries are attending the forum, as well as the heads of the United Nations, International Monetary Fund and World Bank.

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