Reject protectionism, says China's Xi in Silk Road push


"It's very important for us and our companies that the calls for our projects under the Belt and Road initiative are transparent, that they are non-discriminatory, and that they comply with global standards", German Economic Minister Brigitte Zypries said at the trade panel on Sunday.

Putin and other leaders, including Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, applauded the initiative, which Xi unveiled in 2013.

He further said, "Regarding the issue of Kashmir which the Indian side is concerned about, we have been stressing that the Belt and Road is a cooperation initiative for the common development and prosperity of the region".

President Xi Jinping greeted leaders from 29 nations for the two-day summit in Beijing after US and South Korean military officials confirmed that Pyongyang had launched a ballistic missile. While CPEC is highlighted as "flagship project", the B&R includes the Bangladesh, China, India and Myanmar (BCIM) Economic Corridor, New Eurasian Land Bridge, China-Mongolia-Russia Economic Corridor, China-Indochina Peninsula Economic Corridor and 21st century Maritime Silk Road. The initiative spans some 65 countries representing 60% of the world population and around a third of global GDP.

But some Western diplomats have expressed unease about both the summit and the plan as a whole, seeing it as an attempt to promote Chinese influence globally. "Economic globalisation is encountering some headwinds".

Xi said so far, the initiative had won support from 130 countries and 70 worldwide organisations.

At the opening of the meeting on Sunday, Xi pledged to pump an extra $124 billion into the China-bankrolled project, which involves a huge network of ports, railways, roads and industrial parks.

"Connectivity projects must be pursued in a manner that respects sovereignty and territorial integrity", said the Ministry of External Affairs.

China on Tuesday took strong exception to India's stand on its Belt and Road initiative and asked New Delhi to explain what kind of "meaningful dialogue" it wants with Beijing on the multibillion-dollar venture.

"China will scale up financing support for the Relt and Road initiative by contributing an additional 100 billion yuan to the Silk Road Fund, and we encourage financial institutions to conduct overseas RMB fund business with an estimated amount of about 300 billion yuan".

Britain's vote to leave the European Union and the election of Donald Trump as USA president previous year have been two of the most obvious examples of growing unease in Western countries about globalization.

The crux of India's reluctance to the program is the fact that the $46 billion corridor will traverse Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, with officials declaring that the venture violated Indian sovereignty. The heads of the United Nations, International Monetary Fund and World Bank were also present at the summit.

Xi did not mention the North during his speech, but it was discussed at a meeting with Putin.