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China's billion-dollar Belt and Road party: Who's in and who's out

Leaders from across the world have arrived in Beijing for the second Belt and Road Forum, drawn by the possibility of billions of dollars in Chinese funding for infrastructure projects.To get more News in China, you can visit shine news official website.

Beijing has trumpeted this year's larger turnout of world leaders, with 37 in total compared to 29 in 2017. Major global bodies such as the International Monetary Fund have also flown in to attend the gala event.
But there are notable absences, including key Chinese diplomatic partners, such as Sri Lanka and Turkey, as well as the country's largest trading partner, the United States.
The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is Chinese President Xi Jinping's signature global infrastructure policy. First announced in 2013, the project promises to build ports, roads and railways to create new trade corridors linking China to Asia, Africa and Europe.
Since its launch, the Chinese government claims up to 150 countries have signed on board, at least in principle. In the first half of 2019, overseas loans as part of the project have already totaled more than $90 billion.China's President Xi Jinping raises his glass and proposes a toast at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on April 26.
But with the vast loans has come criticism that Beijing is loading up poor countries with unpayable debts to gain a diplomatic or commercial advantage.
President Xi alluded to potential criticisms of his Belt and Road policy in a keynote speech to the gathered world leaders on Friday.
And it isn't just international concerns pushing Beijing to act. There is a growing chorus of dissent inside the Chinese government as well, Lowy Institute Senior Fellow Richard McGregor said.
"For all the pageantry, I think everybody in the Chinese government knows it has to be recalibrated and scaled back, both to fit with criticism overseas and also the potential cost over time at home," he said.In total, more than 5,000 participants from more than 150 countries have arrived in Beijing for the three day summit, due to end on April 27, Chinese state media said.
According to a list of attendees released by Foreign Minister Wang Yi, a number of European and Asian countries will be sending their leaders to the Belt and Road summit for the first time.
Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz is attending the forum, along with Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, despite the leaders of the United Kingdom, France and Germany choosing to stay away.
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte flew to Beijing for the summit just weeks after his country became the first member of the G7 to sign onto the Belt and Road Initiative.

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