China decries protectionism, but Europeans rain on Silk Road parade

On the concluding day of the summit on Monday, Chinese President Xi Jinping said that a total of 68 countries and worldwide organizations signed the One Belt and One Road (OBOR) cooperation agreements with China.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and wife Peng Liyuan arrive for a welcome banquet for the Belt and Road Forum at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Sunday.

In the communique, dated May 8, China said it welcomed South America's participation in the initiative, the basis of which covers Asia, Africa and Europe.

"We see much merit in the Belt and Road Initiative, we see opportunities for collaboration, but we take decisions about initiatives in Australia on the basis of what is Australia's national interest".

World leaders Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin, President Rodrigo Duterte and other state and government leaders have gathered at an global event for an economic trade cooperation initiated by China.

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China calls it a "modern Silk Road" with plans to build six major economic corridors generating hundreds of thousands of jobs. "This cooperation model would be beneficial for everyone", Erdogan said at the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation earlier in the day", Erdogan was quoted by Sputnik News as saying.

In an exclusive interview with Xinhua, the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) chief praised the Belt and Road Initiative, calling it an "extraordinary strategic vision". It was one of the first concrete results of trade discussions that began a month ago, when Xi and Trump launched a 100-day action plan on economic cooperation during their meeting at the US leader's Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.

The Belt and Road Initiative, consisting of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, was proposed by Xi to boost interconnectivity and free trade between Asia and the rest of the world.

Xi said Beijing wants "Belt and Road" to improve cooperation in making industrial and financial policy, speed up development of infrastructure, make trade and investment flow more easily and improve interaction on education and other "people-to-people ties".

Sharif said that the multi-billion dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor was an economic project open to all nations in the region and it "must not be politicised", in an apparent reference to India.

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"Trade is the important engine of economic development", Mr. Xi said.

Chinese officials have said previously that "Belt and Road" is purely commercial, but Xi's comments Sunday indicated a broad array of regulatory and other coordination that may have far-reaching consequences. He said deep-seated problems in global development had yet to be addressed effectively, with worldwide trade and investment sluggish, and economic globalization encountering headwinds.

He said the world must promote the multilateral trade system, the establishment of free trade regions, and the facilitation of free trade.

President Xi has committed about 124 billion USA dollars to fund the project.

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