Almost 30 state leaders put their support behind Xi Jinping’s new globalisation strategy

Draft communique of ‘Belt and Road’ summit endorses Xi Jinping’s grand plan to connect the world’s economies

PUBLISHED : Monday, 15 May, 2017, 11:52am
UPDATED : Monday, 15 May, 2017, 2:52pm

State leaders of almost 30 countries have agreed to work together to build roads, railways, ports and other key infrastructure in one of the world’s biggest economic diplomacy programmes led by China.

The participants at the Belt and Road summit in Beijing said in a draft communique obtained by the South China Morning Post that they would improve cooperation to boost growth, trade and investment.

The “Belt and Road Initiative”, the brainchild of President Xi Jinping, is China’s biggest economic diplomacy programme. Around 30 state and government heads as well as delegates from more than 100 countries – including the United States and North Korea – met in Beijing on Sunday and Monday to discuss the plan.

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According to the draft communique, the participating nations in the two-day forum agreed to promote “practical cooperation on roads, railways, ports, maritime and inland water transport, aviation, energy pipeline, electricity and telecommunications”.

They also agreed to jointly work on a long-term stable and sustainable financial system.

In the communique, dated May 8, China said it welcomed South America’s participation in the initiative, the basis of which covers Asia, Africa and Europe. It made no mention of North America, although its welcome extended to “other regions”.

The draft also reaffirmed China and the participating countries’ commitment to open economy and inclusive trade, and said the Belt and Road countries were opposed to all forms of protectionism.

It also called on all parties that had ratified the Paris Agreement to fully implement the international pact aimed at curbing climate change.

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The countries agreed that “we stand for enhancing international cooperation including the Belt and Road Initiative and various development strategies”. They also “reiterate the importance of expanding economic growth, trade and investment based on level playing field, on market rules and on universally recognised international norms”.

The contents of the draft communique are largely an endorsement of Xi’s keynote speech that he delivered on Sunday morning.