Chinese President Xi Jinping said Saturday leaders and international organizations have committed $64 billion to the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
Xi said that the second leaders' roundtable meeting under the Belt and Road Forum (BRF) had agreed that all member countries will contribute funds for the benefit of promoting equal development.
“We have reiterated and reaffirmed our commitment towards ensuring that we face the challenges of development and as a result, we have signed cooperation worth $64 billion,” Xi told journalists at Yanqi Lake Convention and Exhibition Centre in Beijing on Friday.
In a joint communique read by Xi at the conclusion of the summit, the Chinese president said that leaders had noted that the world economy was facing both expanding opportunities and rising challenges hence the need for continued cooperation to tackle issues for a better future.
He added that leaders were impressed with the progress and opportunities BRI has created through infrastructure investment, economic and trade cooperation zones.
They said that BRI will continue to respect the sovereignty of member countries adding that each country will always list its development priorities.
“We have agreed that we will continue to respect sovereignty and territorial integrity of each other and affirm that each country has the right and primary responsibility to define its development strategies in accordance with its national priorities and legislation,” underscored Mr Xi.
The BRI leaders also pledged to fight unilateralism and protectionism saying that would be impossible to achieve even economic growth with such hurdles.
“We have concluded that we must embrace open economy and inclusive, non-discriminatory global market because through multilateralism, we can address the global challenges,” said Mr Xi.
Since BRI inception in 2013, China has so far signed 126 Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with member states and organizations.
President Xi further said that BRI is China's idea but it should not be portrayed that its fruits are being enjoyed by his country but rather the whole world.
“Yes BRI was introduced to the world by China but that does not mean it is only for China, its fruits are witnessed across the globe,” added Mr Xi.
The roundtable meeting which concluded the second fete of BRF was attended by 38 heads of states and International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Christine Lagarde and United Nations chief Antonio Gutteres.