China pledges $122 billion for OBOR

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"It is our hope that through the "Belt and Road" development, we will unleash new forces for global economic growth", Xi told reporters at a conference center in the hills north of the Chinese capital.

Participants in the Leaders Roundtable of the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation adopted a joint communique.

The South Asian nation - the world's fastest growing major economy and Asia's third biggest - chose not to attend the gathering, where China laid out its plan to connect almost 70 countries through a series of global trade pacts, inspired by the ancient Silk Road trading route.

"India's refusal to join China's Belt and Road Forum (BRF) - also known as "One Belt, One Road"- was "partly a show" for domestic politics and aimed at piling pressure to get Beijing's "special attention", a state-run Chinese daily said today".

However, Xi has welcomed the participation of countries beyond the geographical reach of the project, Bloomberg reported.

Xi pledged $124 billion on Sunday for his new Silk Road which aims to bolster China's global leadership ambitions by expanding links between Asia, Africa, Europe and beyond, as U.S. President Donald Trump promotes "America First".

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The US should be "a stakeholder in the initiative", read a column in the Global Times, as joining it would "deliver benefits to American companies and help increase job opportunities within the country".

For now, China is playing it cool when it comes to India's role in the Belt and Road initiative.

"All countries should respect each other's sovereignty, dignity and territorial integrity, each other's development paths and social systems, and each other's core interests and major concerns", the Chinese President said at the summit. New Delhi chose to skip the meeting due to its sovereignty concerns - China-Pakistan Economic Corridor passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).

On the conditions of anonymity, a diplomat informed that France, Germany, Estonia, Greece, Portugal and Britain are the countries which have refused to sign the project.

The diplomat said all the European nations taking part in the summit's trade panel collectively made a decision to rebuff the text because they believe it does not sufficiently address European concerns surrounding transparency of public procurement and social and environmental standards.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said here on Tuesday that "encouraging results" were achieved during his attendance to a forum on the Belt and Road Initiative in China on May 14-15, and that he was confident Malaysia would realize its potential under the initiative. Beijing also promised to import US$2 trillion worth of products from belt and road countries in the next five years.

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