Xi, Putin discuss N.Korea in Beijing

In Qatar, the Minister said, we look at the Belt and Road Initiative or the "Silk Road" from a strategic standpoint to link it with all our infrastructure such as ports and airports.

Chinese President Xi Jinping said on Saturday that $64 billion (€57 billion) in infrastructure deals were signed at this week's Belt and Road Forum in Beijing.

"We are committed to supporting open, clean and green development, and rejecting protectionism", he said. His government will now offer a "debt-sustainability framework" to encourage compliance with global standards in infrastructure contracting. As many as 122 states and 49 worldwide organisations are part of Chinese BRI.

Developing countries welcome the initiative launched in 2013, but some governments are struggling to repay Chinese loans.

"Instead, it is a policy developed by all the countries and not only focused on China", he said.

Putin told three-dozen leaders gathered for the conference that the Belt and Road is "intended to strengthen the creative cooperation of the states of Eurasia". While visiting Beijing last week, I was struck by the conciliatory language of slogans on propaganda banners and billboards touting the gathering: "Peace and Cooperation; Openness and Inclusiveness; Mutual Learning and Mutual Benefit". He offered British expertise in project financing.

In a separate statement China said it signed a memorandum of understanding with various countries including Italy, Peru, Barbados, Luxembourg, Peru and Jamaica. Earlier, he met Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan.

President Donald Trump on Thursday said Xi would soon be coming to the U.S. to seal the trade deal, without providing a date for the long expected visit.

The Sunday's meeting between Mr. Xi and Mr. Khan was regarded significant as it was held in the backdrop of heightened tensions between India and Pakistan following the February 14 Pulwama terror attack carried out by Pakistan-based terror group JeM which killed 40 Indian CRPF soldiers.

China's foreign minister said last week that 126 countries and 29 worldwide organisations have signed cooperation agreements with Beijing on the Belt and Road.

"In a world of rapid changes, threatened by many divisive forces, China appears as the connector country, connecting East and West but also North and South", noted the French expert.

He added that countries reached inter-governmental cooperation agreements and "practical cooperation projects". That was in response to criticism that Chinese financing for Chinese-built projects in poor countries was pushing them into a debt trap.

'We welcome the participation of multilateral and global financial institutions in Belt and Road investment and financing, and we encourage third market cooperation, ' said Xi.

"China is a great success of the modern age: achieving sustained growth, transforming society, improving the quality of life of a billion people".

Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan said his country's electricity supplies had increased "massively" with the implementationof the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). "These sanctions harm the world economy", Putin said, adding that China "currently defends liberal values".

A communique released at the end of the meeting said leaders encouraged multilateral development banks and other worldwide financial institutions to support projects "in fiscally sustainable ways" and mobilize private capital in line with local needs.

  • Leroy Wright