The majority of the leaders invited this year were from developing countries, which contradicts a Western accusation that developed countries were avoiding the country’s Belt and Road Forum, according to Chinese official media.
Critics believe President Xi Jinping’s China is using the ambitious Belt and Road program to expand its geopolitical and economic power. The initiative is marketed as reviving the historic Silk Road to improve global trade infrastructure.
Longer-term trade and investment relations with Beijing have been clouded by the debate in the West regarding economic dependence on Beijing. The only other member of the Group of Seven, Italy, called the previous administration’s choice to join Belt and Road an “atrocious” mistake.
The leaders of France, Germany, Italy, and some other European nations did not intend to attend this year’s Belt and Road Forum, which will be held in the autumn, according to a July Wall Street Journal report.
The publication added that the underwhelming response suggested that Xi’s diplomatic aspirations would face more difficulty in the international arena.
The state-run Global Times refuted the assertion, citing an unnamed source on Saturday.
The nationalistic tabloid claimed that while China has not sent invitations to the heads of some industrialized countries featured in Western media sources, the claim that they were “avoiding participation” is unfounded.
Beijing stated they are welcome to join the summit if they so choose.
An inquiry for comment was not immediately answered by the Chinese foreign ministry.
In the ten years after Xi introduced Belt and Road, more than 150 nations, including Russia, have committed to taking part, with the majority being in Africa.
According to the Russian state news agency TASS, Russian President Vladimir Putin plans to travel to China in October, just in time for the Belt and Road Forum.