Chinese President Xi Jinping's Belt and Road forum yields deals with 68 countries and international groups

China may be urging major multilateral institutions to join their new Belt and Road Initiative but it's not the only country keen to secure new trade deals, despite the US trying to unravel them.
Chinese President Xi Jinping urges backing for his new Silk Road Initiative while addressing world leaders at a summit in Beijing, stressing the importance of rejecting protectionism in seeking global economic growth.VIDEO: REUTERS
Chinese President Xi Jinping speaking at a press conference at the end of the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing on May 15, 2017.
Chinese President Xi Jinping speaking at a press conference at the end of the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing on May 15, 2017.ST PHOTO: CHONG KOH PING
Leaders attending the Belt and Road Forum wave as they pose for a group photo at the International Conference Centre at Yanqi Lake, Beijing, China, on May 15, 2017.
Leaders attending the Belt and Road Forum wave as they pose for a group photo at the International Conference Centre at Yanqi Lake, Beijing, China, on May 15, 2017. PHOTO: EPA

BEIJING - China has signed cooperation deals with 68 countries and international organisations during the two-day Belt and Road Forum.

The deals yielded a list of 270 deliverables in areas such as policy coordination, infrastructure building, trade, investments and finance as well as people-to-people exchanges, Chinese President Xi Jinping said on Monday (May 15).

Mr Xi also announced that the next Belt and Road Forum will be held in 2019.

Speaking to reporters at the Yanqi Lake resort, the forum venue in the outskirts of Beijing, Mr Xi said the forum has sent a "positive message" to the rest of the world on "Belt and Road international cooperation".

He also said China, together with 29 heads of state and government, "have reached broad consensus and adopted a joint communique" after Monday's roundtable meeting.

Leaders at the summit agreed to promote a rules-based, open and multilateral trading system with the World Trade Organisation at its core, the communique said.

They noted the challenges faced by the world economy and welcomed the initiative to improve connectivity between Asia and Europe, saying it was important to expanding trade and investment based on a level playing field. 

It also urged countries that have signed on to the Paris climate change agreement to fully implement it. 

Touted as the biggest diplomatic event initiated by China, the inaugural Belt and Road Forum saw the attendance of some 1,500 government officials and experts from more than 130 countries.

They had gathered in the Chinese capital on Sunday and Monday to discuss Mr Xi's mega project aimed at reviving two ancient trade routes via land and sea.

Known as the Belt and Road initiative, it was suggested by Mr Xi four years ago as a way to boost growth for China.

He calls this ambitious plan to build roads, railways, ports and industrial parks along the trade routes "a project of the century".

He reiterated on Monday that this initiative is an "open and inclusive platform for development where all interested countries can participate, contribute and benefit as equals".