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Chinese President hails benefits of new "Silk Road"

Xi Jinping
Xi Jinping
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By Philip Andrew Churm
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Presidents Xi Jinping and Putin attend Belt and Road Forum in Beijing

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The second Belt and Road Forum in Beijing has been taking place with Chinese President Xi Jinping aiming to reassure sceptics of its economic value.

Xi hailed the signing of deals worth more than €57 billion during the week's forum alone and said the project was about ecological co-operation.

"We will continue to uphold the principle of achieving shared growth through dialogue and collaboration by using equal consultations and sharing the responsibilities to achieve mutual benefit. We welcome all countries who are interested (in the Belt and Road initiative) to participate," he told delegates.

"China has always supported openness, honesty and green development and we oppose protectionism. We will try our best to build a clean, decent and eco-friendly new Silk Road in the new era."

Russian president, Vladimir Putin, who was also at the forum, said it would reduce economic conflict.

"Nobody wants any restrictions. Nobody wants any trade wars. Except maybe those who starts such processes.

"An overwhelming majority, almost 100 per cent are sure that all these restrictions harm the development of the world economy."

The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is based on the principle of the historic Silk Road which connected China with the rest of Asia and Europe.

The overall value of projects in the scheme is estimated at more than €3.2 trillion and spans five continents.

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