China Pledges $124 Billion for Silk Road Plan, Says Everyone Welcome

Pandey declined to comment about India's opposition to parts of the Belt and Road initiative, in particular an economic corridor China is building in Pakistan.

"That said, there is still a long way to go as the Belt and Road is a long-term undertaking".

The Chinese-bankrolled project seeks to link the country with Africa, Asia and Europe through an enormous network of ports, railways, roads and industrial parks.

What: China's Belt and Road Initiative could change global business.

Some of China's most reliable allies and partners will attend the forum, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen and Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev.

"Pursuing the B&R initiative, China has no intention to form a small group detrimental to stability", Xi was quoted as saying by the state-run Xinhua news agency.

Making a U-turn from its earlier position, the U.S. also sent a delegation led by Matt Pottinger, special assistant to the president and senior director for Asia at the National Security Council, after it clinched a trade deal with China.

One of the criticisms of the Silk Road plan is that host countries may struggle to pay back loans for huge infrastructure projects being carried out and funded by Chinese companies and banks.

A joint statement by the leaders appeared to be crafted to defuse fears Beijing is trying to create a China-dominated bloc and rewrite global trade rules.

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North Korea relies heavily on trade with China for its economic survival, and US President Donald Trump has urged Xi to use that leverage to put pressure on Pyongyang.

The two-day event is the highest-level forum on the Belt and Road Initiative since the Chinese president first raised the concept in 2013.

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

Individual countries need to coordinate national policies", Xi said during a speech to world leaders on the final day of the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing.

"Spanning thousands of miles and years, the ancient silk routes embody the spirit of peace and co-operation, openness and inclusiveness, mutual learning and mutual benefit", he said.

"We should build an open platform of cooperation and uphold and grow an open world economy", Mr. Xi told the opening of the summit.

The project - where Kenya is seeking partnership with the private sector to build a highway, an oil pipeline, a railway line and a sea port at Lamu connecting South Sudan and Ethiopia, - is created to link up with another corridor from West Africa.

India has reservations about the project because it passes through Pakistan-Occupied-Kashmir, which India says challenges its sovereignty by lending legitimacy to Pakistan's claim over the territory.

"President Xi also expressed his willingness to work with the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the BRICS New Development Bank and the World Bank to support Belt and Road related projects". It envisions two components: the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road that are expected to cover more than 60 percent of the world's population and more than one-third of the global economic output. "It is really grounded in certain objectives such as economic and financial realities", Rehman said.

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