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Beijing's Belt and Road summit invites caution in the West

Doubts voiced about China's motivation, openness and transparency

| China
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Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) shaked hands with Pakistan's President Mamnoon Hussain in September 2015 at Beijing.   © Reuters

On May 14 and 15, at least 28 heads of government and a bevy of other foreign dignitaries will attend a lavish coming-of-age party in Beijing. The event is intended to celebrate China's ambitious plans to carve out a bigger role on the global stage and fill the vacuum created by uncertainties about President Donald Trump's commitment to continuing U.S. leadership in Asia and beyond.

The star of the show will be the Belt and Road Initiative, also known as One Belt One Road, an eye-catching project that Beijing says will spread economic prosperity across the globe and forge stronger links with more than 60 other countries. The brainchild of Xi Jinping, China's president, it is planned eventually to extend to Europe and Africa, covering nearly two-thirds of the world's population, nearly a third of its gross domestic product and a quarter of international trade.

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