Xi urges cooperation mechanism for 'Belt and Road' initiative

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday called on efforts to deepen cooperation between countries and international organizations to revive the global economy, as the world suffers sluggish growth amid increasing protectionism.

Xi made the remarks as world leaders and delegates from over 100 countries and organizations gathered in Beijing for the two-day Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation.

At the opening speech of the Leaders' Round-table Summit on Monday, Xi said that he hopes the forum could be a good opportunity to discuss ways of increasing world economic growth and boosting trade and investment. 

To resolve problems such as trade and investment sluggishness, conflicts and terrorism, individual countries need to cooperate with each other as well as international organizations, he said.

Xi said that geese move in flocks and help each other as a team so they can fly long and safe through winds and storm, drawing the analogy to inter-state cooperation.

He said one of the reasons holding the meeting at the Yanqi Lake is that he hopes both the "belt" and the "road" - consisting of the silk road through central Asia to Europe -and the maritime trade routes - could spread their "wings" like a goose flies in the sky.

Xi said that it was necessary to coordinate policies with the development goals of institutions including the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), ASEAN, African Union and the European Union.

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

"This is an important lesson that can be drawn from the global financial crisis and is still very relevant to the development of the world economy today," he said.

"We need to seek win-win results through greater openness and cooperation, avoid fragmentation, refrain from setting inhibitive thresholds for cooperation or pursuing exclusive arrangements and reject protectionism."

The Chinese leader also urged to promote innovative-driven economic model.

On Sunday, Xi pledged $124 billion for his new Silk Road which aims to bolster China's global leadership ambitions by expanding links between Asia, Africa, Europe and beyond, as US President Donald Trump promotes "America First".

The world was also stunned on Sunday after Xi told world leaders China will invest $14.5 billion into the existing Silk Road Fund, and another $55 billion in loans from two policy banks - China Development Bank and the Export-Import Bank of China.

In addition, Xi said that China will invest $8.6 billion in aid to developing countries and international bodies in countries along the new trade routes and encourage financial institutions to expand their overseas yuan fund businesses to the tune of $43.4 billion.

The Belt and Road initiative is seen as part of China's answer to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal, a regional trade pact involving Pacific Rim countries, but excluding China.

The TPP, touted by the previous US administration of President Barack Obama, has effectively been killed by Trump, who has withdrawn US support.

A total of 29 foreign heads of state and government leaders are attending the forum, including Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Other delegates include officials, entrepreneurs, financiers and journalists from over 130 countries, and representatives of key international organizations, such as UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, World Bank President Jim Yong-kim, and Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund Christine Lagarde.

But some Western diplomats have expressed unease about both the summit and the plan as a whole, seeing it as an attempt to promote Chinese influence globally. They are also concerned about transparency and access for foreign firms to the scheme.
 


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