China's Xi says Belt and Road must be green، sustainable
Saturday 27/April/2019 - 10:30 AM
China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) must be green and sustainable، President Xi Jinping said in opening a summit on his grand strategy، adding that the massive infrastructure and trade plan would deliver “high-quality” growth for all، according to Reuters.
Xi’s plan to rebuild the old Silk Road to connect China with Asia، Europe and beyond has aroused controversy، as some partner nations have bemoaned the high cost of infrastructure projects.
China has not said how much the ambitious plan will cost، but some independent estimates suggest it will run to several trillion dollars.
Beijing has repeatedly said it is not seeking to trap countries that sign up to BRI with debt. It will use this week’s summit in Beijing to address those concerns and recalibrate the policy.
Xi said in a keynote speech on Friday that environmental protection must underpin the initiative “to protect the common home we live in”.
“Operate in the sun and fight corruption together with zero tolerance،” Xi said.
“Building high-quality، sustainable، risk-resistant، reasonably priced، and inclusive infrastructure will help countries to fully utilize their resource endowments،” he said.
At the first summit، in 2017، Xi said Chinese banks would lend 380 billion yuan ($56.4 billion) to support BRI cooperation. He did not give a figure for the new financing in his opening remarks at the summit، but he is schedule to give another speech، on Saturday.
Western governments have tended to view the plan as a means to spread Chinese influence abroad، saddling poor countries with unsustainable debt.
While most of the BRI projects are continuing as planned، some have been caught up by changes in government in countries such as Malaysia and the Maldives.
Those that have been shelved for financial reasons include a power plant in Pakistan and an airport in Sierra Leone، and Beijing has rebuffed critics by saying that not one country has been burdened with so-called “debt traps”.
Since 2017، the finance ministries of 28 countries have called on governments، financial institutions and companies from BRI countries to work together to build a long-term، stable and sustainable financing system to manage risks، China’s finance ministry said in a report released on Thursday.
Debt sustainability has to be taken into account when mobilizing funds، the ministry said in the report، which outlined a framework for use in analyzing debt sustainability of low-income BRI nations and managing debt risks. Edited by: Ahmad El-Assasy