BEIJING (Sputnik) – Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi refuted on Friday allegations voiced by some Western countries labelling China’s Belt and Road Initiative as a debt trap and noted that the project was beneficial for all participating countries.
“The Belt and Road Initiative is in line with modern trends. It is in line with aspirations of the participating countries for greater development and revival, while the criticism and discrediting comments alleging that it is a debt trap will never be supported by participants of the initiative”, Wang told reporters.
The foreign minister stressed that countries criticising the Belt and Road Initiative wanted to prevent other states from making any significant economic achievements.
“Within last six years since the moment when Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed this initiative, the practical cooperation under it has brought significant results”, the minister noted.
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Earlier in the day, the FM announced that the second Belt and Road forum, which is to be held in Beijing the next week, will gather 37 heads of states and governments.
The top diplomat continued by saying that leaders of several countries, including Russia, Egypt, Italy, Russia, the United Arab Emirates will arrive in China for the forum, while representatives of the United States and North Korea will also be present.
The Belt and Road Initiative, also known as the One Belt, One Road project, was first announced by Chinese President Xi Jinping back in 2013. The project remains one of Xi’s most ambitious foreign policy and economic plans.
The plan’s objective is to boost cooperation between Eurasian countries and advance economic growth in the region. The project also seeks to promote investment in projects that would connect dozens of countries across Africa, Asia and Europe through the creation of infrastructure networks resembling the ancient Silk Road trading routes.
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Some Western states have criticised the Chinese project as a debt trap. Most recently, Jonathan Cohen, acting US permanent representative to the United Nations, said in March that the Belt and Road Initiative had “known problems with corruption, debt distress, environmental damage, and lack of transparency”. The same month, the US-based Centre for Global Development issued a study that said eight countries may face difficulties with debt sustainability linked to the Belt and Road Initiative.