The summit which gave start to China’s milestone project One Belt One Road took place in Beijing. The development strategy proposed by Chinese president Xi Jinping aims at connectivity and cooperation among countries primarily between the country and the rest of Eurasia. The coverage area of the initiative is primarily Asia and Europe, encompassing around 60 countries. Anticipated cumulative investment over an indefinite timescale is variously put at trillions of U.S. dollars.
“When the countries exist in interdependence and global threats are constantly breaking out, not a single country can solve the problems faced by the world on their own,” Chinese president Xi Jinping said when opening the event.
Leaders of 29 countries took part in China’s Belt and Road economic forum.
The concept introduced by China in 2013 may become one of the largest projects in the history of mankind. The global infrastructure network may involve more than sixty countries with a total of 4 bn people.
“China is about to invest extra 100 bn in the development of the project,” Xi Jinping stated.
The successful implementation of the project may lead to China’s global economic leadership. At the same time, the EU wants a greater access to Chinese markets, and such a big project can hardly be implemented without the assistance of international funds.
“Chinese companies enjoy a full access to the European market, but unfortunately, this is not the case of European companies on the Chinese market. In 2016, European investment in China dropped by 23 percent, which is the last 10 years’ low,” Jyrki Katainen, the European Commission vice-president for jobs, growth, investment and competitiveness, stressed.
The Eurasian Union member countries are also interested in the Belt and Road development. Among other things, its high-speed railway line is expected to connect Beijing to Moscow via Almaty (such travel will take two days), and then the way to Western Europe through Minsk will be paved.
“Russia sees the future of the Eurasian Partnership not only in the establishment of new relations between the countries and economies, but also in changing the political and economic landscape of the continent,” Russian president Vladimir Putin said.
Despite the ambitions of some leaders and the prospects oт paper, there is still no clear picture of what the project of the century will look like in the end.
Since 2015, member states have already deposited $40 bn in the Silk Way Road investment fund. But for the full implementation of the project will take trillions of dollars.