Chinese President Xi Jinping has promised to donate $40 bn to help Asian nations improve trade links in a new effort to assert to improve connectivity in the region.
Xi made the pledge in a meeting with leaders of Bangladesh, Cambodia, Laos, Mongolia, Myanmar, Pakistan and Tajikistan ahead of this week’s Asia-Pacific economic summit, state media reported on Sunday.
The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation gathering brought together leaders of the United States, China, Japan and 18 other economies.
Beijing launched a series of initiatives this year aimed at reducing what it sees as Western-dominated regional and global trade, finance and security structures.
The latest effort, the “Silk Road Fund,” will finance infrastructure and cooperation in industry and finance to link Asian economies, Xi said in the meeting.
“Efforts by a single or several countries are far from adequate,” said Xi, according to China’s official Xinhua News Agency. “Only by building extensive partnerships where all will think and work in unison can we expect to achieve positive results.”
Linking Asian countries is “not merely about building roads and bridges or making linear connection of different places,” Xi was quoted as saying.
“More importantly, it should be a three-way combination of infrastructure, institutions and people-to-people exchanges and a five-way progress in policy communication, infrastructure connectivity, trade link, capital flow and understanding among peoples,” he said.
In a speech Sunday, Xi said China’s economy is shifting to a more stable growth and has the resiliency to overcome any “bumps on the road”.
China’s outbound investment will exceed $1.25tn over the next 10 years, while the country will import more than $10 trillion worth of goods and send more than 500 million tourists abroad over next five years, Xi said.
“For the Asia-Pacific and the world at large, China’s development will generate huge opportunities and benefits, and hold lasting and infinite promise,” Xi said.
China is spearheading a free trade initiative – the Free-Trade Area of the Asia Pacific to which Bangladesh and other attending countries showed great interest and support.
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