China to gather friends for big summit on New Silk Road

China's President Xi Jinping during the official welcoming ceremony in front of the Presidential Palace in Helsinki Finland

China's President Xi Jinping during the official welcoming ceremony in front of the Presidential Palace in Helsinki Finland

"We do not lack the resources or ability to address our problems, but the current fragmented and exclusive global cooperation model makes it hard to integrate resources", Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Tuesday at a press briefing.

The May 14-15 summit is seen as a measure of China's worldwide prestige at a time when Xi has positioned China as a rising outward-looking regional power, and as questions have arisen over President Donald Trump's commitment to maintaining the United States' traditional global leadership.

According to the minister of Foreign Relations, the Presidents of Russia, Turkey, Kazakhstan, Belorussia, Philippines, Argentina and Chile and heads of government like those of Spain, Italy, Poland, Malaysia or Mongolia, among others, announced their attendance to the event, which will take place in this capital from May 14 to 15.

Wang said the leaders of France and Germany had indicated their willingness to attend the summit, but were unable to due to schedule conflicts as their elections loom.

Wang dropped the word "one" from the original name of the program, One Belt, One Road.

In attendance will be academics, entrepreneurs and finance and media industry experts from 110 countries, and other guests include nine vice prime ministers, seven foreign ministers and 190 ministerial-level officials, and 89 heads and representatives from 61 worldwide organizations.

He said every one can enjoy its opportunities as long as the spirit of One Belt One Road is recognized.

Putting to rest any doubt about China/Russia relations as fallout from recent British geopolitical attempted sabotage, Minister Wang said, "As for Russia and China, we, the leaders of our countries, have agreed on conjugating the EAEU and One Belt, One Road".

"This is a positive, cooperative conference, it shouldn't be politicized", Wang told reporters in Beijing, in response to a question asking if China felt insulted by the absence of top leaders from the US and its allies, including Japan, Britain and Australia.

Mr Wang dismissed those concerns, saying the Pakistan project had no direct link to the dispute and India was welcome to participate in the new Silk Road.

Diplomatic sources said the presence of Putin and other leaders from countries with dubious human rights records, like the Philippines and Central Asian states, had contributed to a reluctance among Western leaders to attend. China has been providing support to Pakistan in these areas for many, many years.

While China has portrayed the New Silk Road as a genuine effort to share the bounty of China's economic development and to fund infrastructure gaps, many Western countries are concerned about a lack of detail and transparency in the project and are suspicious about China's broader political intents.

China was privately upset in 2015 after most Western leaders rebuffed invitations to attend a big military parade through Beijing marking 70 years since the end of World War Two.

"Everyone wants to be China's friend now with Trump in office", said a senior Asian diplomat in Beijing.

Italy is the only major western country sending its head of government to the conference on the development plan, despite China's effort to give it an global flavor.

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