China host presidents and diplomats from around the world
Vladimir Putin will come to the international forum "One Belt - One Way" after talks with Kim Jong-un
/NOVOSTIVL/ There have been plenty of highs and lows in the six years since China launched its “Belt and Road Initiative”, but as the second Belt and Road Forum gets under way in Beijing, President Xi Jinping’s grand plan to boost global trade and enhance regional connectivity has never been under more scrutiny. This article appeared in the South China Morning Post.
The three-day event, which opens on Thursday, is the diplomatic highlight of the year for China, with the leaders of about 40 foreign governments and 5,000 foreign representatives from 150 countries set to attend.
Since holding its first Belt and Road Forum in 2017, the plan’s global profile has risen exponentially, as too have the voices that oppose and challenge it.
China has been widely accused of using the plan to engage in "debt trap diplomacy" in Asia and Africa, while opponents in the United States, the European Union and elsewhere have charged it with becoming a systemic and strategic rival.
As Beijing prepares to host leaders and diplomats from around the world, we take a look at the structural and administrative changes it has made to the scheme since the last forum in 2017.