PACIFIC leaders are embracing China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) with renewed enthusiasm following China’s hosting of the second BRI Forum in April.
5000 participants from over 150 countries and 90 international organisations attended the Forum according to Chinese authorities. It was a rich ground for the classic “grip and grin,” producing a succession of photos of beaming national leaders, including (now former) Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, standing before a sea of red flags, firmly clasping the hand of Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Beyond its public relations value, the Forum also produced a 283-item list of deliverables; initiatives either proposed or launched by China, agreements signed during or immediately before the forum, multilateral cooperationmechanisms under the BRI framework, investment projects and project lists, and financing initiatives.
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