Australia Receptive to China's Silk Road, but National Interest First

At the opening of the meeting on Sunday, Xi pledged to pump an extra $124 billion into the China-bankrolled project, which involves a huge network of ports, railways, roads and industrial parks.

Addressing other world leaders at a summit on the initiative in Beijing, Mr Xi said it was necessary to coordinate policies with the development goals of institutions including the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec), Asean, African Union and the European Union.

On the concluding day of the two-day One Belt and Road (OBOR) summit being held here, China said Monday that India will have a very "small role" to play should it ever decide to join the initiative in the future.

Kayonga said the belt and road initiative the vision of Africa's Agenda 2063, which aims to integrate the continent and to develop sustainable economies.

"We see much merit in the Belt and Road Initiative, we see opportunities for collaboration, but we take decisions about initiatives in Australia on the basis of what is Australia's national interest".

"In a world of growing interdependency and challenges, no country can tackle the challenges, also the world's problems, on its own", Mr Xi said.

State leaders of nearly 30 countries have agreed to work together to build roads, railways, ports and other key infrastructure in one of the world's biggest economic diplomacy programmes led by China.

But he did not refer to India's objection to the Dollars 50- billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a flagship project of the B&R initiative that runs through Gilgit and Baltistan in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK). But this is not for the first time that India is trying to obstruct purely developmental initiative as it always scuttled growth of the cooperative platform of SAARC and backed out of its commitment to joint Iran-Pakistan Gas Pipeline project.

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He said that CPEC is at the core of China's One Belt, One Road initiative, which has fostered inclusion and tolerance in the region. They also "reiterate the importance of expanding economic growth, trade and investment based on level playing field, on market rules and on universally recognised global norms".

Pakistan and China signed six accords of cooperation in diverse fields.

While the historic Silk Road connected Asia to Europe, he said that all countries would be welcomed to the new project.

British finance minister Philip Hammond said London was "ready to work with all Belt and Road partner countries to make a success of this initiative".

In a veiled reference to India, which is dead against the CPEC as it goes through Pakistan-controlled Kashmir, Sharif said the issues of CPEC "must not be politicised".

"We should jointly create an environment that will facilitate opening up and development; establish a fair, equitable and transparent system of worldwide trade and investment rules".

The 45-minute-long address by the 63-year-old Chinese president came a day after India made it clear that it will not attend the two-day B&R Forum that began in Beijing today.

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