China ropes in US, Japan for Silk Road summit

China has managed to rope in the US at the last minute for its Silk Road summit besides South Korea, the EU and Japan, leaving India to be the only major country yet to confirm its participation in the high-profile event.

The Trump administration announced that Matt Pottinger, Special Assistant to the President and senior director for East Asia of National Security Council of the White House, will lead the US delegation to the attend the One Belt and One Road Forum.

“The United States recognises the importance of China’s One Belt and One Road initiative and is to send delegates to attend the Belt and Road Forum May 14–15 in Beijing,” a joint statement by China’s finance and commerce ministries said.

Twenty nine world leaders are taking part in the summit.

The US attendance at the summit was a concrete result of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s trade plan, finance vice- minister Zhu Guangyao told media here.

The key announcement before the summit regarded as prestigious by officials here for Xi’s multi-billion dollar initiative. The US participation came after the two sides clinched a lucrative trade agreement which will boost shipments of American liquefied natural gas, beef and other products to China. In turn, Chinese banks and poultry will get access to the US market.

The deal follows pledges by US President Donald Trump and Xi during a summit in Florida to address a $350 billion trade imbalance in China’s favour by coming up with concrete measures within 100 days.

Analysts say the US participation was in line with Trump’s policy of working out deals by negotiating on key strategic issues.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry announced that besides the US, South Korea, EU and Japan will be sending high-level delegations.

“As for India’s attendance at the forum, there are Indian scholars coming to attend the forum,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a media briefing here today.