Beijing says Silk Road not geopolitical tool, understands concerns

China downplays political impact of global development push

"They, through their actions, have already given the Belt and Road Initiative a vote of confidence", he told reporters at a news conference at the Foreign Ministry.

Mr. Wang pointed out that India and China were limiting the threshold of their differences so that overall development of ties remained unhampered.

Based on figures released by China's top economic planner last week, the total trade volume between China and Belt and Road participating countries exceeded US$6 trillion (S$8.1 trillion) from 2013 to previous year, while China has so far chalked up US$80 billion in direct foreign investment in these countries. Wang said China and India were two major countries, besides being neighbours. I remember Prime Minister Narendra Modi has mentioned many times that we should not escalate our differences into dispute.

"I think such cooperation will not undermine India's basic position on sovereignty and territorial integrity and at the same time, will provide opportunities of development and help India in the modernization endeavor", Wang said. Since the establishment of the diplomatic relations in 1977, friendly bilateral relations between the two countries have maintained healthy and steady momentum, and plenty of fruitful achievements have been made in the pragmatic cooperation across areas. Leaders of Pakistan and Nepal are among the countries who would take part in the meeting.

India has slammed CPEC, stating that it was an affront to its sovereignty as it passes through Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK).

The reasons behind the decision to decline the invitation for the second iteration of the forum are the same ones that drove a boycott of the first event in May 2017 - core concerns on sovereignty and territorial integrity and the uneven playing field created by the Chinese, the people said.

He said, "Of course, India has its basic position on these disputes. Our cooperation will not undermine any party's position on those issues", Wang said, apparently suggesting that it would not alter even Pakistan's position on the disputed status of the PoK. Those issues left over from history must be separated from our efforts in this area.

There has been growing concern over China's Belt and Road ambitions, with many western leaders calling the projects "debt traps".

"I am convinced that with the concerted efforts of all the participating parties, including China and Barbados, the second BRF will deliver fruitful outcomes, create more driving forces for the economic growth, provide more opportunities for global economic cooperation, and contribute more to the vision of a community with a shared future for mankind". "I believe this is a good option and good choice for India", Wang said.

The total trade volume of goods between China and countries along the Belt and Road exceeded six trillion US dollars from 2013 to 2018, according to a Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) statement on Thursday.

The secretary-general of the United Nations and the managing director of the International Monetary Fund will attend the forum, Wang said, adding that senior representatives of France, Germany, Britain, Spain, Japan, the Republic of Korea and the European Union will also participate. "And this sour grape mentality is in no one's benefit". "We welcome more constructive voices to the Belt and Road", Mr. Wang observed.

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