|Published : 18 Apr 2017, 19:37:11|
China to gather friends for biggest summit on New Silk Road
China will gather its friends and allies together for its biggest diplomatic event of the year in May, a summit on its New Silk Road plan, with most Asian leaders due to attend but only one from a G7 nation, the Italian prime minister.
President Xi Jinping has championed what China formally calls the "One Belt, One Road" or OBOR, initiative to build a new Silk Road linking Asia, Africa and Europe, a landmark programme to invest billions of dollars in infrastructure projects including railways, ports and power grids, according to a global media report.
China has dedicated $40 billion to a Silk Road Fund and the idea was the driving force behind the establishment of the $50 billion China-backed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.
Foreign Minister Wang Yi announced on Tuesday a list of those attending the conference, including some of China's most reliable allies - Russian President Vladimir Putin, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen.
Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak and Indonesian President Joko Widodo are coming too, all generally good partners of China.
While China says the New Silk Road is not political, it has run into opposition from India due to a section of it in Pakistan, known as the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, where some projects run through the disputed Kashmir region.
Nevertheless, India Prime Minister Narendra Modi was not on the list of leaders attending.