Pak moves closer to China, hails controversial CPEC

The Chinese government is investing tens of billions of dollars as part of an ambitious economic plan to rebuild ports, roads and rail networks.

China today dismissed India's concerns over the Belt and Road initiative, saying the mega venture has broad global support and the China- Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project which is a part of it will not affect Beijing's stand on Kashmir.

The "Belt and Road Initiative" calls for building ports, railways and other facilities in a vast arc of 65 countries.

"We see much merit in the Belt and Road Initiative, we see opportunities for collaboration, but we take decisions about initiatives in Australia on the basis of what is Australia's national interest".

Pakistan Prime Minister Sharif, his Sri Lankan counterpart Ranil Wickremesinghe, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan were among the world leaders who attended the high-profile meeting.

The One Belt One Road project is already in action in Chongqing in southern China where a massive logistics center moves containers on to trains 24 hours a day. However, India stayed away over concerns for China's plans for the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

"China stresses that this initiative is not benefiting China alone, but it's of a benefit to all participating countries, and as we say, this initiative is not a solo piece but a symphony played by all participating countries", Qi said.

Xi tried to mollify concern about a potential Chinese-dominated bloc by saying "Belt and Road" is meant to be an "open and inclusive platform for development".

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Pakistan and China signed six accords of cooperation in diverse fields.

"U.S. firms have a long and successful track record in global infrastructure development, and are ready to participate in Belt and Road projects".

In the communique, China and other nations underlined the importance of expanding trade and investment based on a level playing field.

A clear indication of India's boycott came last night in an official statement that said India can not accept a project that violates its sovereignty and territorial integrity.

On Sunday, Xi pledged US$124 billion for the new Silk Road which expands links between Asia, Africa, Europe and beyond. He said deep-seated problems in global development had yet to be addressed effectively, with worldwide trade and investment sluggish, and economic globalization encountering headwinds.

The Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation was held in the city for two days.

Some European countries have refused to sign off on a trade statement at China's Silk Road summit, a diplomat said yesterday, dealing a setback to Beijing's efforts to gain full support for its initiative.

"The Chinese president's announcement to contribute an additional 100 billion yuan (around $14.5 billion) to the Silk Road Fund is a piece of good news for neighboring countries like Nepal that have recently joined the Belt and Road Initiative", Mahat said.

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