China downplays political impact of global development push

BEIJING — China is downplaying the political implications of its global development campaign known as the Belt and Road initiative, saying that it aims to boost multilateralism amid protectionist trends in the U.S. and elsewhere.Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Friday that a meeting to promote the initiative next week in Beijing would draw leaders from 37 countries, underscoring heavy demand for Chinese investment.Chinese President Xi Jinping, who has made the initiative a signature policy, agreed last month to seek fairer international trade rules and address the world’s economic and security challenges, in what appeared to many as a rebuke to President Donald Trump’s protectionist policies.The initiative aims to weave a network of ports, bridges and power plants linking China with Africa, Europe and beyond.The Associated Press read more