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China to hold Asia Pacific ministers meet on Wednesday to discuss BRI projects


BEIJING: China has convened a key ministerial conference of Asia Pacific countries on Wednesday to discuss cooperation with its Belt Road Initiative (BRI), days after G7 countries headed by the US announced plans to “Build Back Better World” (B3W) to counter Beijing’s multi-billion-dollar infrastructure development initiative.
The Group of Seven (G7) comprising the US, Canada, Britain, Germany, Italy, France and Japan at their London conference on June 12 agreed to launch B3W to counter China’s growing influence by offering developing nations an infrastructure plan that would rival the BRI project.
State councillor and foreign minister Wang Yi will preside over the Asia and Pacific high-level conference on the Belt and Road Cooperation with the theme of “Promoting Cooperation on Combating the Pandemic for Sustainable Recovery” via video link, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian announced at a media briefing on Tuesday.
More than 30 parties, including foreign ministers or economic ministers of relevant countries in Asia-Pacific and representatives of the UN and other international organizations will attend the meeting, he said.
“This is a high-level international conference on the Belt and Road Initiative with a wide range of participants, which reflects the high priority all parties attach to and support they lend to BRI,” he said.
The BRI, a multi-billion-dollar initiative launched by Chinese President Xi Jinping when he came to power in 2013, aims to link Southeast Asia, Central Asia, the Gulf region, Africa and Europe with a network of land and sea route.
The China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is the flagship project of the BRI. India has objected to China as the CPEC is being laid through the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
Analysts cautioned Beijing about the US successfully pushing its B3W plan to counter the BRI, which has become a signature initiative of China to build infrastructure projects around the world to enhance its influence.
Commenting on the B3W, Shi Yinhong, a US relations specialist at Beijing’s Renmin University, said the US plan was “not good news for China.”
“All of the stated goals of the B3W, described as a values-driven, transparent and sustainable infrastructure partnership, are obviously targeting China,” Shi told the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post earlier.
Shi said the infrastructure plan and the US efforts to unite allies to confront China were the basis of the emerging Biden doctrine, which was essentially about winning the competition with China and showcasing the superiority of the democratic system.
“It could easily be turned into a key part of the US-led ideological struggle with China. It could be defined as a rather belated offensive to push back against China’s belt and road project, which has shown signs of retreat especially after the coronavirus crisis,” he said.


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