Source: Global Times Published: 2017-3-14
Chinese experts said the upcoming Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in May in Beijing will further internationalize and institutionalize the Belt and Road initiative.
Over 20 world leaders have confirmed their attendance to the forum, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said on Monday.
"The level and scale of the Belt and Road Forum is expected to surpass the scale of the Group of 20 summit that China hosted in Hangzhou in 2016 ... The forum will transform the initiative into an institution, which will provide global economic policy for multilateral cooperation," Pang Zhongying, director of the Center for the Study of Global Governance at Renmin University, told the Global Times.
The Belt and Road initiative refers to the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road initiative proposed by President Xi Jinping in 2013. The initiative seeks to bring together countries through overland and maritime networks to promote mutually beneficial cooperation, according to the Xinhua News Agency.
The forum, scheduled for May 14 and 15, will hold a Leaders Roundtable and the High-Level Dialogue for 25 foreign leaders and 1,200 Chinese and foreign delegates from various sectors, Hua said. Six parallel panel discussions on the connectivity of policy, infrastructure, trade, finance and people are also on agenda.
"While protectionism and unilateralism are rising, the Belt and Road initiative has become the common cause which will help rebalance economic globalization by making it more universally-beneficial and inclusive," Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on the sidelines of the annual session of the National People`s Congress.
"Backed by infrastructure, techniques and talent, China is contributing to globalization through the Belt and Road initiative," Huang Renwei, vice president of the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times.
Reports say Russian President Vladimir Putin, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen will attend the forum.
"The US is also welcome to attend the forum but unlikely to appear, since the US, which always positions itself as the world leader, would unsettle itself as a supporter of the Chinese initiative," Huang said.
But the $1 trillion infrastructure investment program proposed by US President Donald Trump in February could be linked to the initiative, which would benefit the global economy, Pang noted.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will not likely attend the meeting, Indian newspaper the Deccan Herald reported.
Pang Zhongying is the senior fellow of Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China.