China pledges $124 billion for new Silk Road, says open to everyone

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Xi said the Belt and Road initiative is "a project of the century" that will benefit people across the world.

German Economy Minister Brigitte Zypries on Sunday warned that Germany and other European Union countries would not sign a joint trade statement at China's Belt and Road Forum unless they received more guarantees from Beijing on free trade, environmental protection and working conditions. The pursuit of the Belt and Road Initiative requires a peaceful and stable environment, ' said Xi.

He didn't give any specific investment figures for new projects expected to be signed under the initiative. The United States has sent a senior White House adviser.

At the opening ceremony, Xi promised to provide $8.70 billion in aid to countries and global organizations that participate in the Silk Road plan.

In 2013, Beijing launched "One Belt, One Road" aimed at strengthening ties between Eurasian countries and at development of infrastructure across the continent. He was due to meet Monday with Chinese officials and representatives of US companies looking at potential "Belt and Road" opportunities, said embassy spokeswoman Mary Beth Polley.

He said the two-day forum would be an exchange of views on how to improve connectivity that would benefit all.

Details on which companies were involved and what activities the work group will undertake were not immediately available, Polley said.

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Zypries on Sunday called for more transparency in tenders for projects related to the initiative, and insisted that it should conform to global trade standards.

The U.S. embassy did not mention that in its statement on Sunday, but cited Pottinger as saying American firms were ready to participate in Belt and Road projects.

Putin, speaking at the opening of the event, told participants that protectionism is a threat to the global economy. New Delhi sees that as an endorsement of Pakistan's control.

While Cpec is highlighted as "flagship project", the Belt and Roads includes the Bangladesh, China, India and Myanmar (BCIM) Economic Corridor, New Eurasian Land Bridge, China-Mongolia-Russia Economic Corridor, China-Indochina Peninsula Economic Corridor and 21st century Maritime Silk Road. It can turn out to be the largest ever infrastructure project requiring almost a trillion- dollar investment across the globe.

"No country can accept a project that ignores its core concerns on sovereign and territorial integrity, " MEA spokesperson Gopal Baglay said in response to questions whether India would attend the two-day summit, being attended by Heads of State or Government from nearly 30 countries and top representatives from over 20 other nations.

Seeking to portray the initiative as welcoming and inclusive, Xi promised to avoid forming a "small group" of allies, which he said might harm regional stability.

Also Sunday, Hungary's foreign minister, Peter Szijjarto, said the Chinese government's Export-Import Bank presented a financing proposal for a railway line from Budapest to Belgrade in neighboring Serbia.

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