China presents 'One Belt, One Road' initiative at special forum

China's president pledged over $100 billion at a special forum in Beijing for the new "One Belt, One Road" initiative. The initiative's aim is to revive China's ancient trade route, the Silk Road. Although many are in favor, there are those who oppose the initiative.
Putin pledged Russia's support for Chinese initiative Photo Credit: Reuters/Channel 2 News

Chinese President Xi Jinping said on Sunday at a special summit that he has pledged $124 billion to his “One Belt, One Road” initiative that will revive the ancient Chinese trade route: the Silk Road. The ambitious program is designed to promote China's trade with the rest of Asia, Europe and Africa and leaders from around the world attended the forum.

"We should build an open platform of cooperation and uphold and grow an open world economy," Xi said at the opening of the forum in Beijing. Xi continued saying the world must create an atmosphere that promotes openness and development to help cultivate "fair, reasonable and transparent global trade and investment rules.”

However, there are those who expressed concern about the initiative, claiming that the plan would strengthen China’s influence on the global economy and create a preference for a market that does not respect the international rules of trade.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and others attended the forum. Putin and Erdogan spoke at the summit and pledged to support the Chinese initiative. Other European leaders, such as the prime ministers of Spain, Italy, Greece and Hungary, also attended.

The UK, which will leave the European Union eventually, is interested in building greater ties with China, according to Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond, who claimed that the initiative is a good opportunity. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres commended China on the initiative and called the plan “an excellent opportunity,” emphasizing the need for the program to work in sync with the UN’s sustainable development goals.

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