Few From West Drawn by China's One Belt, One Road Conference

Few From West Drawn by China's One Belt, One Road Conference

Leaders from around the world are eager to rub shoulders with Chinese officials at a summit in Beijing next month, as President Xi Jinping's signature One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative gains momentum.

World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim talks about China's Belt and Road initiative on Thursday during a press conference of the 2017 IMF/World Bank annual spring meeting being held in Washington.

Experts in India admit, however, that New Delhi has its own reasons to not join it, especially where it involves Pakistan-administered Kashmir, though the Chinese-led "One Belt, One Road" (OBOR) initiative is enticing.

According to Wang, 28 heads of state and government, including from Russia, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, have confirmed their participation in the forum.

The Belt and Road Initiative is a major development strategy launched by the Chinese government in September 2013 to sponsor and promote economic co-operation among countries along the proposed Belt and Road routes.

The World Bank Group is and will continue working closely with the Chinese government on the Belt and Road Initiative, according to the chief of the global financial institution.

"This is a positive, cooperative agreement, and we don't want to politicise it", he said when asked if China was upset at the absence of most major Western leaders.

The only western leaders to attend are Spain's Mariano Rajoy and Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni.

"This is an economic cooperation forum, an global cooperation platform that everyone is paying attention to, supports and hopes to participate in", Wang said.

Chinese enterprises signed 952 project contracts in 61 countries along the Belt and Road with a turnover of 14.4 billion dollars, almost half of the total value of contracts in Q1, according to the MOC.

China has also signed documents with 56 countries to enlarge support for the program. British Finance Minister Philip Hammond will also attend in the place of Prime Minister Theresa May.

"I think China has been stepping up and illustrating that it's concerned about development, not just in the neighbouring countries or even along the Old Silk Road, but globally, he said".

Diplomatic sources said the presence of Putin and other leaders from countries with dubious human rights records, like the Philippines and Central Asian states, had contributed to a reluctance among Western leaders to attend.

It includes 21st century maritime silk road to connect China with different ports in the world as well as the CPEC and the BCIM.

"Obviously, for us it is essential that the opportunities are opened up for all, including Europeans", Reuters quoted her as saying in an address to students at Tsinghua University in Beijing.

Leaders from countries that would appear to have little, if any, connection to the plan are coming to the summit, including Chile and Argentina.

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