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World of interest in Belt and Road forum

By Xu Wei | China Daily | Updated: 2017-04-19 07:32

President Xi Jinping will attend the opening ceremony of the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in mid-May and deliver the keynote speech, Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Tuesday.

He also confirmed that heads of state and government leaders from 28 countries and heads and representatives from 61 international organizations will take part in the two-day forum, which starts on May 14 in Beijing.

The Belt and Road Initiative, put forward by Xi in 2013, is the most important public policy China has provided to the world, Wang said. "It was initiated by China, but shared by other countries."

Xi will also host a leaders roundtable summit on May 15, Wang said.

"We hope to push forward the establishment of a fairer, more reasonable and balanced global governance system under the principle of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits," he said.

China's aim in hosting the forum now is to gather the thoughts and wisdom of attendees, summarize achievements and experience, and plan routes for cooperation, he added.

Chinese government departments are expected to sign about 20 plans for action with their counterparts along the initiative's routes, covering infrastructure, energy and resources, production capacity cooperation, and trade and investment.

The forum, with more than 1,200 delegates from 110 countries expected, will include such high-level conferences as a plenary meeting and six parallel meetings with different themes.

Wang noted that the forum comes amid sluggish global investment and trade, with the world economy yet to emerge from the gloom of the financial crisis of 2007-08.

"We do not lack the resources and capabilities to solve problems. The key is that current international cooperation is fragmented and exclusive, which makes it difficult for us to integrate the current resources," he said.

Wang Xiaotao, vice-minister of the National Development and Reform Commission, said the progress of the Belt and Road Initiative has exceeded expectations.

China's trade in goods with nations along the initiative reached $974.8 billion in 2016, which takes up 25.7 percent of its total trade in goods in 2016.

The country also has set aside about 10,000 scholarships for countries along the initiative's routes, and reached a broad consensus with those countries in science, culture, tourism and health, aiding people-to-people exchanges, he noted.

China has signed agreements with over 40 countries and international organizations on the initiative, and it is expected to discuss similar agreements with some 20 countries and 20 international organizations at the forum.

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