China’s President Xi Jinping is hosting a global summit to showcase the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), where over 140 countries and 30 international organizations are confirmed to attend. The event, described as China’s most important diplomatic event this year, aims to promote the BRI and address concerns surrounding China’s lending practices and recent reports of Italy’s potential exit from the project.
The summit is an opportunity for Xi Jinping to deliver a keynote speech highlighting the achievements and value of the BRI. It is also expected that he will host a welcome banquet and other events for the guests attending the forum. The Chinese capital has been decorated in honor of the event, and Chinese media has been actively promoting the reputation and accomplishments of the BRI.
China’s support for the BRI comes at a time when the initiative has faced scrutiny. Criticisms include China’s lending practices to indebted nations like Sri Lanka, as well as Italy’s reported intention to exit the BRI. To address these concerns, China released a white paper on Belt and Road cooperation and issued new legal guidelines for BRI cases.
During the summit, Xi Jinping met with several world leaders to strengthen diplomatic relationships and promote trade and investment. Some notable meetings include those with the Ethiopian Prime Minister, where China has extended debt relief, and the Serbian President, where a high-speed train procurement deal was signed. Xi Jinping also met with leaders from Chile, Kazakhstan, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, Hungary, and Uzbekistan.
Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in Beijing for the summit, marking his second known trip abroad since an International Criminal Court (ICC) warrant was issued for his arrest. However, both China and Kyrgyzstan, the countries Putin visited, are not members of the ICC.
In a surprising development, the Taliban’s acting minister for commerce and industry will also be attending the summit, indicating China’s growing ties with Afghanistan’s ruling regime. China’s economic support under the BRI has been crucial for Afghanistan, which has faced sanctions and isolation from the West.
The summit serves as an opportunity for China to showcase the BRI’s achievements and address concerns surrounding the initiative. With leaders from around the world in attendance, the event highlights China’s commitment to promoting trade, investment, and diplomatic relationships globally.