28 heads of state and government leaders, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, have confirmed they will attend the Belt and Road summit in Beijing on May 14-15.
On Tuesday, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Chinese President Xi Jinping will host the round table summit of the leaders. Dubbed ‘One Belt, One Road,’ the plan is to revive an ancient trading route stretching from Asia to Europe.
Beijing and Moscow have also indicated they have reached consensus on integrating China’s ambitious One Belt One Road plan with Russia’s Eurasian Economic Union.
The Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation will be held from May 14 to 15 in Beijing.
“China has invested more than 50 billion U.S. dollars in countries along the Belt and Road since proposing the initiative in 2013,” He Lifeng, head of the National Development and Reform Commission, said in early March.
China’s One Belt, One Road initiative aims to create a modern Silk Road Economic Belt and a 21st Century Maritime Silk Road to boost trade and extend its global influence.
The ancient Silk Road connected China and Europe from around 100 B.C.
The 6,000-km road linked ancient Chinese, Indian, Babylonian, Arabic, Greek and Roman civilizations.
A map unveiled by state agency Xinhua shows the Chinese plans for the Silk Road run through Central China to the northern Xinjiang from where it travels through Central Asia entering Kazakhstan and onto Iraq, Iran, Syria and then Istanbul in Turkey from where it runs across Europe cutting across Germany, Netherlands and Italy.
The maritime Silk Road begins in China’s Fujian and ends at Venice, Italy.
The network would include building railways, highways, oil and gas pipelines, power grids, Internet networks, maritime and other infrastructure links.
In 2014, China announced a $40 billion Silk Road Fund to strengthen connectivity in the Asia-Pacific region.
After the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the Silk Road could be the second China-led project in recent months to attract a flurry of EU participation.
China’s President Xi Jinping said earlier that he hoped its annual trade with the countries involved in Beijing’s plan to create a modern Silk Road would surpass $2.5 trillion in a decade.