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Senior Western leaders won't attend China's New Silk Road summit

Senior Western leaders won't attend China's New Silk Road summitOnly one leader of a big Western country is attending China's most important diplomatic event of the year, a summit next month on President Xi Jinping's New Silk Road strategy.

This is reported by Reuters.

Xi has championed what China formally calls the "One Belt, One Road" or OBOR initiative to build a new Silk Road linking Asia, Africa and Europe, a landmark program to invest billions of dollars in infrastructure projects including railways, ports and power grids.

China has dedicated $40 billion to a Silk Road Fund and the idea was the driving force behind the establishment of the $50 billion China-backed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).

Diplomatic sources in Beijing said China had hoped for at least some senior Western leaders to attend the summit, including British Prime Minister Theresa May, to burnish the plan's international credentials and make it less China-centric.

But a list of attendees announced by Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Tuesday included only one leader from the Group of Seven (G7) industrialized nations, Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni.

Wang confirmed the presence of the presidents of Russia and the Philippines as among 28 leaders coming, along with the Spanish, Greek, Hungarian, Serb and Polish prime ministers and Swiss and Czech presidents.
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