In his opening address outlining China’s vision, Xi referred to ancient Silk Road and spoke about significance of various civilisations, including the “Indus and Ganges civilisations”. Without referring to India’s objections to the China-Pakistan-Economic Corridor (CPEC), Xi said, “all countries should respect each other’s sovereignty, dignity and territorial integrity, each other’s development paths and social systems, and each other’s core interests and major concerns.”
Xi said the Belt and Road initiative is “a project of the century” that will benefit people across the world. Denying any attempts to form a “small group” of nations taking part in the Belt and Road initiative of which CPEC is a part, Xi said China plans to build it as a road to peace and link his country to much of Asia, Europe and Africa.
Xi told the forum attended by 29 heads of state and government besides representatives of over 100 countries and international organisations.
Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, his Sri Lankan counterpart Ranil Wickramasinge, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan were among world leaders who attended the high-profile meeting. The United States sent a delegation led by Matt Pottinger, special assistant to the president and senior director for Asia at the National Security Council.
Other delegates include officials, entrepreneurs and financiers from over 130 countries, and representatives of key international organizations.
India skipped the meeting due to its sovereignty concerns over the USD 50 billion CPEC, which goes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).
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