China's Xi says Belt and Road needs to reject protectionism

The Asian Development Bank, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, European Investment Bank, New Development Bank, World Bank, and China's Ministry of Finance signed an agreement on promoting Belt and Road, Chinese Vice Minister of Shi Yaobin (史耀斌) said.

"We need to improve policy coordination and reject beggar-thy-neighbour practices", Xi told the forum.

Beijing has said the project was strictly focused on economic cooperation and devoid of geopolitical issues, but in a strongly-worded statement on Saturday, New Delhi said it could not accept a project that ignored its core concerns on sovereignty.

Chinese President Xi Jinping attends a news conference at the end of the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing, China May 15, 2017.

Germany said its firm would support the initiating but more transparency was required.

Notably, however, India boycotted the summit to demonstrate its opposition to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which is a flagship OBOR project connecting China and Pakistan with road, rail and pipeline links that cross the disputed territory of Kashmir. He said deep-seated problems in global development had yet to be addressed effectively, with worldwide trade and investment sluggish, and economic globalisation encountering headwinds.

Xi said in contrast that China's Belt and Road plan would be inclusive and open to all.

"In a world of growing country can tackle the challenges or solve the world's problems on its own".

"The Belt and Road project, reaching Rwanda and beyond, will be a leap forward in process of integrating Africa not only facilitating integration of the continent's economy into the global one but also enhancing political integration", Kayonga said.

For his part, Gentiloni said the just-concluded Belt and Road forum had sent a positive signal to the world economy and worldwide trade.

Britain's vote to leave the European Union and the election of Donald Trump as US president a year ago have been two of the most obvious examples of growing unease in Western countries about globalization.

"Connectivity initiatives must follow principles of financial responsibility to avoid projects that would create unsustainable debt burden for communities; balanced ecological and environmental protection and preservation standards; transparent assessment of project costs; and skill and technology transfer to help long term running and maintenance of the assets created by local communities".

"Unprofitable investments are not good for anybody", said Andras Vertes, chairman of GKI Economic Research. The United States sent a delegation led by the Asia director of President Donald Trump's National Security Council.

President Xi made the remarks at the Leaders' Roundtable Summit of OBOR Forum for International Cooperation.

While Xi did not mention North Korea during his speech to the delegates, it was discussed during a bilateral meeting with Putin.

  • Joey Payne