Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi (2nd L) attends a press conference on China's foreign policy and relations on the sidelines of the second session of the 13th National People's Congress in Beijing, capital of China, March 8, 2019. (Xinhua/Shen Bohan)
Chinese President Xi Jinping will attend the opening ceremony of the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation (BRF) in late April in Beijing and deliver a keynote speech, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Friday.
Wang made the remarks at a press conference on the sidelines of the country's annual legislative session.
Xi will also chair a leaders' roundtable, he said.
The number of foreign heads of state and government expected to attend will be much more than that of the first BRF, Wang said, noting that it will be a much bigger event with thousands of delegates from over 100 countries expected to attend.
There will be more side events, including 12 sub-forums focusing on practical cooperation, he said, adding that a conference will be organized specifically for the business community for the first time.
With the theme of "Belt and Road Cooperation, Shaping a Brighter Shared Future," the second BRF aims to bring about high-quality Belt and Road cooperation, Wang said.
"China looks forward to a full exchange of views on our future cooperation plans," he said.
NOT "DEBT TRAP" BUT "ECONOMIC PIE"
For the widely watched Belt and Road Initiative, Wang Yi said BRI is not a "debt trap" that some countries may fall into but an "economic pie" that benefits local population.
"It is not a geopolitical tool, but a great opportunity for shared development," he added.
The initiative has become the world's largest platform for international cooperation and the most welcomed global public goods, he said, noting that a total of 123 countries and 29 international organizations have signed BRI agreements with China.
"They have cast a vote of support and confidence in the BRI," he said.
From the start, the BRI has followed the sound principle of consultation and cooperation for shared benefits, and it has created enormous opportunities for all participants, Wang said.
He cited a raft of examples. "Thanks to the BRI, east Africa now has its first expressway. Maldives has built its first inter-island bridge. Belarus is able to produce sedans. Kazakhstan is connected to the sea. Southeast Asia is constructing a high-speed railway. And Eurasian continent is benefiting from the longest distance freight train service."