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China’s Xi Meets with World Leaders Ahead of Belt and Road Forum

China’s President Xi Jinping on Tuesday held bilateral meetings with several world leaders ahead of the third Belt and Road forum, set to begin later in the day.

The presidents of Kazakhstan and Chile, as well as the prime ministers of Hungary, Ethiopia, and Papua New Guinea were among those with Xi held bilateral talks.

China is hosting the two-day forum, which starts on Tuesday and is expected to be attended by over 4,000 representatives and officials from around 140 nations and 30 international organizations.

Discussions around the Belt and Road Initiative were part of Xi’s bilateral talks, brief statements released on X by China’s Foreign Minister spokeswoman Hua Chunying revealed.

“A sound, stable and vigorous relationship between China and Kazakhstan is good for the prosperity of both countries and for peace and stability in the region,” Xi told Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev.

The “permanent comprehensive strategic partnership will continue to flourish” between the two countries with shared commitment and mutual support, he added.

For his part, Tokayev said his country has been following China’s progress with “great encouragement,” pointing to Beijing’s progress on becoming a “leading world power.”

“Trade between our states is developing successfully. The growth is significant … Favorable conditions are being created for mutual cultural and humanitarian exchange. I believe that Kazakhstan and China have enormous potential to take interstate relations to a qualitatively new level,” Tokayev added, according to a statement released by his office.

In a social media statement after his meeting with Xi, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said Hungary sought “connectivity instead of decoupling.”

“Our aim is to strengthen Hungarian-Chinese relations. This is good for Hungary and good for the European economy,” Orban said on X.

Xi lauded Orban for Hungary’s “support” to the Belt and Road Initiative.

In his meeting with Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, Xi said China-Ethiopia cooperation in Belt and Road was “wide-ranging, fruitful and pace-setting in Africa,” according to a Chinese Foreign Ministry statement.

He expressed hope for the two countries to be “friends for mutual benefit and common development and partners for South-South solidarity and global equity and justice.”

During his meeting with Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister James Marape, Xi noted that the country was the first among Pacific Island nations to sign a Belt and Road cooperation agreement with Beijing.

China “looks forward to continued high-quality Belt and Road cooperation with PNG (Papua New Guinea) to share development opportunities and contribute to PNG’s drive for modernity and economic success,” he said.

Xi underlined that China’s cooperation with Pacific Island countries was “open, genuine and selfless without political strings attached.”

“China fully respects their wishes and needs and does not seek any exclusive privileges nor does China impose its will on Pacific islands countries or pay lip service to its commitments,” he added.

Xi also met Chilean President Gabriel Boric Font.

The two sides signed several cooperation documents in areas including the Belt and Road initiative, development, industrial investment, digital economy, scientific-technological innovation, and agriculture.

“Since the establishment of China-Chile diplomatic relations more than half a century ago, the bilateral ties have long been at the forefront of China’s relations with South American countries,” Xi said during his meeting with Chilean President Gabriel Boric.

The Belt and Road Initiative, billed as recreating the ancient Silk Road to boost global trade infrastructure, was proposed by Xi in 2013 to connect China with the markets of Central Asia, the Mideast, Europe, and Africa.

With more than 200 cooperation agreements spread across 150 countries and 30 international organizations, the cumulative value of imports and exports between China and the partner countries has reached $19.1 trillion, with an average annual growth rate from 2013 until 2022 of 6.4%.

Source : aa