China wins praise for Silk Road but concerns persist

He added that the next step is to seek deeper and broader cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative framework, and that China hopes the initiative will boost economic growth for participating countries and intensify people-to-people bonds.

"The One Belt One Road (OBOR) concept is the most significant transformative initiative in recent human history".

Mr Xi said that China had "no desire to impose our will on others" but instead stood ready to foster development by putting up extra funding for Belt and Road projects.

The Belt and Road Initiative proposed by China provides opportunities for the whole world to promote peace and prosperity, experts in Bangladesh said Sunday.

Some of China's close allies and partners were at the forum, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen and Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev.

"Pursuing the B&R initiative, China has no intention to form a small group detrimental to stability", Xi was quoted as saying by the state-run Xinhua news agency.

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In the communique, China and other nations underlined the importance of expanding trade and investment based on a level playing field.

The Belt and Road initiative has as one of its aims the "balanced and sustainable development" of countries along the trade routes.

Chinese President Xi Jinping (top right) and Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta (top left) attend a signing ceremony after their bilateral meeting during the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on May 15, 2017.

"In advancing the Belt and Road, we will not retread the old path of games between foes".

China opens on Sunday a summit to promote its massive global trade infrastructure project, highlighting Beijing's ambitions to spearhead a new era of globalisation as Washington shifts toward inward-looking policies.

"We should foster a new type of worldwide relations featuring win-win cooperation; and we should forge partnerships of dialogue with no confrontation and of friendship rather than alliance", Xi said.

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"Countries and regions related to the Belt and Road have become an important destination for China's investment, equipment, technology and services", Ning said.

The OBOR project is so vast in its scope, that it will link most Asian countries to China.

Chinese officials insist the initiative is purely commercial, but foreign diplomats and political analysts also see an effort by Beijing to promote its own vision of trade and security arrangements and reduce the USA presence in Asia.

"We welcome recent signals by the Chinese leadership for free trade and open markets", Ms Zypries added.

In Ethiopia, the infrastructure includes a dry port near the capital, Addis Ababa, and an electric railway to the port in Djibouti.

"In my view, Belt and Road is meant to create greater economic interdependence between China and its neighbours, which Beijing hopes will translate into increased political influence", said Bonnie Glaser, director of the China Power Project at the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies. "It is really grounded in certain objectives such as economic and financial realities", Rehman said.

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