Beijing: China plans to hold a mega summit next month to drum up support from the global community, mainly the Western world, about its “OBOR” initiative, but just one leader of the key G7 nation is on the guest list so far, dampening Beijing's initial enthusiasm, a media report said on Thursday.
Only one leader of a big Western country is attending the summit on President Xi Jinping's New Silk Road strategy next month, the Reuters reported.
Among the leaders of the powerful Group of Seven industrialised nations, only Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni is on the guest list of the event.
However, the Chinese foreign minister sought to downplay the matter and denied that “it had been snubbed”.
It was earlier hoped that at least some senior Western leaders, such as British Prime Minister Theresa May, to attend the summit.
But the attendee list announced by Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Tuesday didn't have the names of most western leaders.
“They have explained to us many times, France has elections in May, as does Germany about then, so their leaders originally were really willing to attend. This is not a platitude, it's the real information we got,” Reuters quoted Wang as saying.
Beijing insists that its “One Belt, One Road” initiative is an economic project to build a new Silk Road linking Asia, Africa and Europe.
China has already dedicated a $40 billion fund for the project and also has invited the global community to invest in the project, which would involve building railways, ports and power grids.
Russia and the Philippines are among 28 leaders, along with the Spanish, Greek, Hungarian, Serb and Polish prime ministers and Swiss and Czech presidents are expected to attend the summit.
“This is a positive, cooperative agreement, and we don't want to politicise it,” he said when asked if China was upset at the absence of most major Western leaders.
Though China has portrayed the Silk Road initiative is purely an economic activity, many Western countries are “concerned about a lack of transparency in the project and are suspicious about China's broader political intents”.
India has opposed the project since a section of it, known as the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, would pass through the PoK.
But Wang dismissed those concerns, saying the Pakistan project had nothing to do with the dispute and India was welcome to participate in it.