China hosts on Sunday a summit showcasing its ambitious drive to revive ancient Silk Road trade routes and lead a new era of globalisation, just as Washington turns inward in favour of “America First” policies.
Leaders from 28 nations, including Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, will attend the two-day meeting at Yanqi Lake, located in a Beijing suburb near the Great Wall.
But Western powers seem less enthusiastic about the project, with Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni the only leader coming from the Group of Seven industrialised nations.
The forum will promote President Xi Jinping’s One Belt, One Road Initiative (OBOR), a massive Chinese-bankrolled infrastructure project to link the country with Africa, Asia and Europe through a network of ports, railways, roads and industrial parks.
China’s push comes as Washington’s leadership in global trade is changing under US President Donald Trump’s nationalist “America First” stance.
In Europe, anti-globalisation sentiment has grown among voters and the continent has been rattled by Britain’s looming exit from the European Union.
“There is a pressing need in today’s world to have a shared, open and inclusive cooperation platform… to jointly tackle global challenges,” Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told reporters ahead of the summit.
“What we need is not a hero that acts alone, but partners of cooperation that stick together,” he said.—AFP