Published: Fri, May 19, 2017
Global Media | By Garry Long

China's Xi appeals to foreign leaders for freer trade

China's Xi appeals to foreign leaders for freer trade

"Once that happens, we can increase our trade and invite more tourists to Nepal", Yug Raj Pandey, an under-secretary at Nepal's ministry of finance, told Reuters. Chinese Commerce Minister Zhong Shan also informed participants that China plans to import Dollars 2 trillion worth of products from countries participating in its New Silk Road Initiative over the next five years.

India boycotted the forum of the project because of sovereignty concerns over the $50 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

Responding to the statement, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying asked what India meant by "meaningful dialogue".

The strategy was said to involve high-speed railways, bridges, roads, ports, industrial parks, oil pipelines and power grids that will be built across the region, from Mongolia and Laos to Uzbekistan and Malaysia.

"The Belt and Road initiative was proposed in 2013, and four years on, over 100 countries around the world and worldwide organisations have supported and got involved in this initiative", the foreign ministry said.

U.S. launch airstrike on pro-Assad forces in Syria
But the United Nations said Thursday the warring sides had agreed to set up expert committees to discuss "constitutional issues". In one incident, 27 regime vehicles drove within 18 miles of al-Tanf, which breached the 34 mile radius of the army convoy.

Also called "One Belt, One Road" (OBOR), the initiative involves expensive infrastructure projects-led by Chinese state-owned companies-in dozens of nations.

China is injecting $18.8bn in the Silk Road fund to give more momentum in the initiative, Xi said. "But China and the U.S. have maintained smooth bilateral relations, from which New Delhi can learn", it said.

In his address wrapping up the two-day forum, Chinese President Xi Jinping said on Monday that China would host a second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in 2019. "But we should look beyond the differences and concentrate on shared interests for development", the Chinese diplomat said. China has already made its position clear on the Kashmir issue over which the Indian side is concerned, she said.

Giving a snub to China over One Belt One Road (OBOR) project, India and Japan are together planning to start several infrastructure projects across Africa, Iran, Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia.

"Connectivity initiatives must follow principles of financial responsibility to avoid projects that would create unsustainable debt burden for communities; balanced ecological and environmental protection and preservation standards; transparent assessment of project costs; and skill and technology transfer to help long term running and maintenance of the assets created by local communities".

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