Venezuela hopes no country hinders China's 'fantastic' Silk Road initiative

The United States welcomed efforts by China to promote infrastructure connectivity as part of its Belt and Road initiative and US companies can offer top value services, White House adviser Matt Pottinger said on Sunday.

China, which has been angered by North Korea's repeated missile and nuclear tests, said on Saturday in reaction to the US complaint that all were welcome at the Silk Road forum. Few Western heads of government made the trip.

"We should build an open platform of co-operation and uphold and grow an open world economy", he added.

The deals came as Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif met Chinese President Xi Jinping ahead of the Beijing summit expected to be attended by leaders from at least 29 countries to promote Xi's vision of expanding trade links.

Chinese President Xi Jinping vowed Sunday to give a fresh impetus to the Belt and Road Initiative, unveiling specific measures to carry forward the inspiring initiative that he called "the project of the century".

Connectivity initiatives must follow principles of financial responsibility to avoid projects that would create an unsustainable debt burden for communities; balanced ecological and environmental protection and preservation standards; transparent assessment of project costs; and skill and technology transfer to help long term running and maintenance of the assets created by local communities. Some of the projects could be in development for years.

The project is seen as a practical solution to relieve China's industrial overcapacity.

In a reminder of the potential security threats facing the region, North Korea test-fired a ballistic missile on Sunday that flew for a half-hour and reached an unusually high altitude of 2,000 kilometres.

The foreign ministry spokesman said #India had been "formally" invited to the Beijing summit.

The delegates from both Koreas held a brief meeting at the summit, according to South Korea's Yonhap news agency.

Sharif, who is leading a large delegation and clinched more Chinese finance for six more projects of the CPEC, said "the fact is that OBOR belongs to all of us, those who are participating in it and those who are not as yet".

North Korea relies heavily on trade with China for its economic survival, and US President Donald Trump has urged Xi to use that leverage to put pressure on Pyongyang.

Sunday's missile launch "is absolutely an embarrassment to Beijing but it also shouldn't be overstated", Christopher Balding, economics professor at Peking University, told AFP.

Xi told the audience of almost 1,500 that the pursuit ofthe initiative "requires a peaceful and stable environment".

Xi announced an additional 100 billion yuan (about 14.5 billion USA dollars) for the Silk Road Fund, set up in 2014 to finance the initiative, and new lending schemes worth 380 billion yuan equivalent.

Praising Xi's initiative, Putin warned that "protectionism is becoming the norm".

Speaking of the initiative, Robert Kuhn, a US expert on China, said, "What the Belt and Road does is not foreign aid, that is good but unsustainable".

More than 1500 representatives from 130 countries and 70 global organizations are the Belt and Road.

Gopal Baglay, the official spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said, "Regarding the so-called "China-Pakistan Economic Corridor", which is being projected as the flagship project of the OBOR, the worldwide community is well aware of India's position".

Xi earlier announced plans to invest billions of dollars to revive the ancient Silk Road and maritime trade routes.

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