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Belt and Road conference is Xi's time to shine

Power play within Chinese party is key even if investment falls through

TETSUSHI TAKAHASHI, Head of Nikkei's China Headquarters | China

BEIJING -- China's first international conference on its Belt and Road initiative was a prime stage for President Xi Jinping to parade the Asian powerhouse's influence on his own turf, delivering a major political win, if a dubious one for the project itself.

The Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, held here Sunday and Monday, brought together heads of state or government from 29 nations to discuss infrastructure development efforts aimed at expanding China's influence in Asia. In early September, leaders from the BRICS nations -- Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa -- will hold their annual summit in Xiamen, Fujian Province. These diplomatic gatherings on "friendly ground," as Chinese media call them, are shaping up to be a cornerstone of this country's foreign policy in 2017.

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