Beijing: China has invested over $50 billion in the countries along the Silk Road after it proposed the Belt and Road Initiative in 2013, a senior Chinese official said on Monday.
The Silk Road project, officially called the Belt and Road Initiative, has received support from over 100 countries and international organisations, with nearly 50 cooperation agreements signed between governments, He Lifeng, head of the National Development and Reform Commission, told media here.
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He said progress under the initiative was “better than expected". China has launched a $40 billion Silk Road fund to finance the projects. Under the Silk Road initiative, China wants to improve its connectivity with the rest of the world with a maze of roads and ports to trade its goods and services. While India takes part in one of the road projects called Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar (BCIM) economic corridor, New Delhi has protested to Beijing over the $46 billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
India also has reservations over the 21st century Maritime Silk Road which is part of the “One Belt, One Road" initiative over its impact in the Indian Ocean. To further strengthen cooperation, China will host a high-level forum on the Belt and Road Initiative in Beijing in May, the Chinese official said.
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He also defended government’s move to slash growth rate to 6.5% this year saying it is both necessary and attainable. The target is necessary as job creation is an important task for China, he said. “According to our experience, each one percentage point of GDP growth will help create about 1.7 million jobs," the official said.
Without quality growth at a reasonable level, the country will find it hard to meet the job creation target of over 11 million, unveiled in a government work report delivered by Premier Li Keqiang on Sunday, he said. PTI