Xi Hints at 3rd Belt and Road Forum at APEC Summit

During the APEC Summit in Bangkok, Chinese President Xi Jinping indicated that China is considering holding the 3rd Belt and Road Forum in 2023.

The last edition took place in Beijing in April 2019 and saw the huge participation of and is normally scheduled every two years. However, due to the COVID19 pandemic, the earliest that BRI Forum could take place appears to be 2023.

“Next year, China will consider hosting the 3rd Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, injecting new impetus into the development and prosperity of the Asia-Pacific and the world。“

Chinese President Xi Jinping

The choice of the APEC Summit for the announcement seems to suggest that China will tend to focus on its near neighborhood for the upcoming 3rd Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation. Just a few days prior to the APEC Summit, Xi Jinping was in Bali for the G20 Summit

Since the Belt and Road Initiative (#BRI) was announced, it has gained much traction but has also come under fire from mostly western quarters with opponents alleging it is a vehicle for ‘debt-trap diplomacy’ and the program has shown little regard for market viability and environmental norms.

In response, China has come up with Green and Sustainable Belt and Road to highlight that new projects will take into account viability and sustainability. Also, China has come up with the Digital Silk Road to promote uptake of technologies made in China. In addition, China has also launched the Global Development Initiative (#GDI) in 2021.

Before the COVID pandemic, nearly 150 countries in the world have signed the BRI MOU and it will be interesting to note the turnout at the 3rd round. China still under the strict and controversial Zero-COVID policy, but it is expected that restrictions will ease up by then.

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