China pledges USD 40 bn for Silk Road plan

China pledges USD 40 bn for Silk Road plan

Chinese President Xi Jinping today committed USD 40 billion to give a push to the country's mega plan aimed at reviving the ancient Silk Road and "break the connectivity bottleneck" in Asia.

Xi pledged the sum at a summit attended by leaders of neighbouring countries including Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Hosted by China, the dialogue meeting on strengthening connectivity and improving cooperation in the country's neighbourhood was also aimed at firming up support for its mega 21st Century Silk Road Economic Belt and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).

The goal of the fund is to "break the connectivity bottleneck" in Asia, said Xi at the summit attended by leaders of Bangladesh, Cambodia, Laos, Mongolia, Myanmar, Pakistan and Tajikistan.

Representatives of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation also took part in the event.
Xi said the Silk Road Fund will be "open", and welcomed investors from Asia and beyond to "actively" take part in the project.

The Chinese President called on the neighbouring countries to strengthen connectivity and boost cooperation. He stressed China's plans to build the 21st Century Silk Road Economic Belt and the Maritime Silk Road besides Beijing's push for creation of the AIIB.

The summit was organised ahead of the November 10 meeting of Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders scheduled to be attended by US President Barack Obama, his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Xi had invited Prime Minister Narendra Modi to attend the summit during their first meeting in Brazil. Indian officials said Modi could not make it to the summit due to his commitments to attend next week's East Asia Summit in Myanmar followed by G-20 leaders meeting in Australia.

Modi is expected to meet Chinese leaders on the sidelines of these meetings.

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