Turkey plays key role in Belt and Road Initiative: Erdogan

The Belt and Road International Cooperation Forum will be held on May 14 and 15 in Beijing, which will be attended by more than 1,500 delegates, including officials, academics, entrepreneurs and representatives from financial institutions and international organizations.

Turkey will play a key role in the Belt and Road Initiative as its geographical and cultural bridge links with east and west, and it's an indispensable partner with China, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday. The prime minister will also visit Hangzhou and Hong Kong where he will interact with business leaders and attend investment conferences.

Beijing's Belt and Road Forum will host several world leaders, including the Russian and Italian premiers, to showcase a vast network of ports, railways and roads that will help expand China's trade worldwideBEIJING China is one of the few countries in the world today with money to spend, and Xi Jinping is ready to write some checks.

"One Belt One Road will be a new hope in a period when the world has been facing uncertainties, including USA policy changes and Britain's exit" from the European Union, he said.

Xu noted that the industrial output value of the zone has reached 5,500 million dollars since the Belt and Road Initiative was proposed, accounting for two thirds of the total amount during the past decade since the industrial zone was established. The strategy consists of two components: land-based "Silk Road Economic Belt" (SREB) and oceangoing "Maritime Silk Road" (MSR). China has dedicated $40 billion to a Silk Road Fund and the idea was the driving force behind the establishment of the $50 billion Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). In January, President Trump withdrew the United States from the partnership, putting the future of the deal into uncertainty.

Playing down India's absence at the meeting, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told the media yesterday that the Indian scholars would be attending the meeting. "We welcome all parties to participate".

According to the Chinese ambassador, investments from Chinese companies to the countries located along the Belt and Road route have exceeded 49.3 billion US dollars. This includes China's commitment to buy American beef as part of the "100-day plan" agreement, according to reports.

China will also allow US financial firms to provide card payment and credit rating services in China.

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