The Belt and Road

Pakistan says it has signed new deals with China worth almost $500 million, giving a boost to Beijing's Silk Road trade and infrastructure initiative for Asia, Africa, and Europe at the opening of a major worldwide summit.

The President met Xi and Russian President Vladimir Putin during the welcome banquet hosted for the world leaders at the Great Hall of the People.

The new financing that he promised on Sunday includes 100 billion yuan ($14.5 billion) for the Silk Road Fund and lending schemes worth 380 billion yuan.

The scrutiny of outbound investments by Chinese regulators will not affect the Belt and Road projects, Mr. Ning said. "It must not be politicised", Sharif said in his speech at the inaugural session.

Xi said that the Belt and Road Initiative embodies the aspiration for inter-civilization exchanges, the yearning for peace and stability, the pursuit of common development and the shared dream for a better life.

"We should establish a sustainable financial system that keeps risk under control", said Xi. Other countries welcome the investment, but governments including the United States, Russia and India have expressed unease that Beijing also might be using the effort to increase its political stature.

The US sent a delegation led by Matt Pottinger, special assistant to the President and senior director for Asia at the National Security Council. We will not interfere in other countries' internal affairs.

Stating that the CPEC has emerged as the core and flagship project of China's Obor, he said, "Obor signifies that geo-economics must take precedence over geo-politics and that the centre of gravity should shift from conflict to cooperation". The theme of the Forum is "Strengthening International Cooperation and Co-building the "Belt and Road" for Win-win Development". Connectivity initiatives must follow principles of financial responsibility to avoid projects that would create an unsustainable debt burden for communities; balanced ecological and environmental protection and preservation standards; transparent assessment of project costs; and skill and technology transfer to help long term running and maintenance of the assets created by local communities.

The U.S. -based Human Rights Watch on May 13 raised concerns about the treatment of people along the new Silk Road route in western China that borders Central Asia. "The more China can demonstrate the "Belt and Road Initiative" is open to outside participation in this way, the more it will be embraced by global and even American firms and suppliers".

India delivered an implicit criticism of China's plan on Saturday in a statement from its foreign ministry that said such an initiative should meet global norms and not create unsustainable debt.

India has objected to Chinese state-owned companies working in the Pakistani-held part of Kashmir, the Himalayan region claimed by both sides.

Paul Haenle, director of the Carnegie-Tsinghua Centre, said U.S. involvement in the initiative could help Washington avoid a repeat of its isolation from another China-led project, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

In the clear yet bold statement issued hours before the opening of the forum in the Chinese capital, India has said that the connectivity initiative must be pursued in a manner that respects sovereignty and territorial integrity.

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