China Launches 'One Belt, One Road' Initiative

Xi Jinping

President Xi made these remarks during his meeting with Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on the sidelines of Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation scheduled to be held on May 14 and 15.

The Chinese President Xi Jinping on Saturday said that Pakistan and China had more potential to strengthen bilateral cooperation regarding implementation of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and other regional connectivity projects.

Pakistan is willing to work with China in actively implementing various projects related to the CPEC and steadily pushing forward the cooperation on energy and infrastructure construction, including the Gwadar port project, he said.

Sharif is leading a high level delegation along with four provincial chief ministers, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, Planning and Development Minister Ahsan Iqbal, Railways Minister Saad Rafique, Commerce Minister Khurram Dastagir and IT Minister Anushay Rehman, among others to attend the worldwide forum to highlight the Chinese initiative of "One Belt One Road".

The pacts were signed in the presence of Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang ahead of the much-publicised Belt and Road (B&R) Forum beginning tomorrow. Xi, in his address, pledged to pump in a whopping United States dollars 124 billion for projects that are part of the ambitious venture.

The grand project aims to connect Asia, Europe and Africa through a network of roads, sea links and railway lines.

The summit was attended by leaders of 29 countries and delegation of over 100 countries.

The CPEC has emerged as a thorny issue between India and China, whose ties have been under strain over issues including Beijing blocking New Delhi's bid for the Nuclear Suppliers Group and Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama's visit to Arunachal Pradesh in northeast India. Russian President Vladimir Putin was one of the prominent heads of state. He said CPEC makes Pakistan both a conduit and destination for cross-regional investment and trade.

In a reference to the controversies that plague the Chinese plan, the Indian government statement goes on to say, "We are of firm belief that connectivity initiatives must be based on universally recognized global norms, good governance, rule of law, openness, transparency and equality". It has no geographical boundaries.

Sharif said the Belt and Road "rejected the encirclement for any country".

The Belt and Road initiative includes a maze of roads and port projects.

"OBOR belongs to all of us, those who are participating and those who are not as yet".

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