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Most major Western leaders to skip China's New Silk Road summit

Most major Western leaders to skip China's New Silk Road summit

Attending the summit would mean that India is softening its stance on the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which is part of the One Belt, One Road programme.

28 world leaders to attend the summit.

Wang said the belt and road initiative was tasked with addressing the backlash against globalisation.

The initiative is part of Chinese President Xi Jinping's pet project of improving economic links between Asia, Europe and Africa along the ancient Silk Road trade routes.

Chinese President Xi Jinping will attend the opening ceremony and deliver a keynote speech as well as host a round table meeting that will brainstorm on policy and strategic development and interconnected development.

"China is committed to promoting Africa economic take off and Nigeria, as the major African power is expected to build its own ability and come out with workable plans to meet the objective of the Belt and Road Initiative, which aims at integrating Africa in global development process, as well as accelerating its development strategy 2030, 2063 vision".

Worldwide politics has, however, fueled a reluctance among developed Western countries to join the event, with Italy's prime minister the only leader from a G7 country taking part. Nor was there mention of Australia.

Diplomatic sources in Beijing said China had hoped for at least some senior Western leaders to attend the summit, including British Prime Minister Theresa May, to burnish the plan's worldwide credentials and make it less China-centric.

The list included only one leader from the G-7 nations - Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni.

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Top leaders of 28 countries had confirmed they would attend the summit, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, Indonesian President Joko Widodo, Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang and Myanmar's leader Aung San Suu Kyi, Wang said on Tuesday.

British Finance Minister Philip Hammond will attend as Prime Minister Theresa May's representative, while Germany and France will be having elections at the time and will send high-level representatives, Mr Wang said.

"This is a positive, cooperative conference, it shouldn't be politicized", Wang told reporters in Beijing, in response to a question asking if China felt insulted by the absence of top leaders from the US and its allies, including Japan, Britain and Australia.

Wang said the upcoming edition will be the highest level global forum to be held since the proposal of the initiative.

Diplomatic sources said the presence of Putin and other leaders from countries with dubious human rights records, like the Philippines and Central Asian states, had contributed to a reluctance among Western leaders to attend.

Leaders from countries that would appear to have little, if any, connection to the plan are coming to the summit, including Chile and Argentina.

"Everyone wants to be China's friend now with Trump in office", said a senior Asian diplomat in Beijing.

He said U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres, International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde and World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, as well as government officials and experts from about 100 countries, are expected to participate.

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