By Tenzin Dharpo
President Xi speaks at OBOR
DHARAMSHALA, MAY 15: Chinese President announced yesterday that “all countries should respect each other’s sovereignty” at the first ever forum of it ambitious ‘One Belt One Road’ project in Beijing.
Chinese President Xi Jinping said, “All countries should respect each other’s sovereignty, dignity and territorial integrity, each other’s development paths and social systems, and each other’s core interests and major concerns.”
Touted as the “project of the century” by Xi, the multi trillion dollar project spanning over continents held its maiden forum beginning Sunday at the Chinese capital. The inaugural forum attended by representatives of key international organisations such as UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, and International Monetary Fund Director Christine Lagarde.
Delegates from more than 100 countries, including 28 heads of State and Governments, are attending the summit. However, significant players have not extended fully-fledged participation with Italy’s Prime Minister Paoli Gentiloni, the only one among the G7 members attending. The United States, India, Japan and South Korea, experts say, have not sent high profile representatives.
Concerns beyond the economic aspects were also raised with China still in the bottom rung of the global human rights record. US based International campaign for Tibet issued a statement saying China should not side step human rights concerns and bullishly pursue economic ambitions.
ICT stated that the project aims to put China in the driving seat in the global economic hierarchy and to expand influence in Asia, Africa and Europe. Given China’s political situation, there is fear that this will lead to strengthening the effort of countries that put trade before human rights and respect for a community’s culture and environment, ICT stated.
“While this initiative might benefit some countries’ economic development, the international community has an equally important responsibility in ensuring that human rights are not sidelined in the face of economic interests and trade relations with China,” said Matteo Mecacci, President of the International Campaign for Tibet.
The Belt and Road initiative focuses on connectivity and cooperation among countries primarily between the People's Republic of China and the rest of Eurasia through land based and maritime routes. The grand project’s accumulative investment budget anticipated to cross over 6 Trillion USD.