Vietnam PM to attend Belt and Road Forum in Beijing

By Vu Anh   April 22, 2019 | 06:42 pm PT
Vietnam PM to attend Belt and Road Forum in Beijing
A woman walks past a flower display set up ahead of the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing, China in 2017. Photo by Reuters/Thomas Peter
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc is due to fly to Beijing to attend a summit on China’s Belt and Road Initiative from April 25.

The three-day forum is expected to be attended by nearly 40 world leaders including Russian President Vladimir Putin, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, and Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen.

The BRI is a development strategy proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013 as a union of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st century Maritime Silk Road.

According to the Chinese government, it is aimed at enhancing regional connectivity by developing infrastructure projects that create land and sea networks connecting Southeast Asia, Central Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and Africa.

China and Vietnam signed a memorandum of understanding on promoting connectivity between the "Two corridors, one economic belt" initiative and the BRI in 2017, during President Xi Jinping's visit to Hanoi.

The "Two Corridors, One Belt" initiative was proposed in 2004 to promote cooperation between the two countries in many fields such as commerce, industry, agriculture, and tourism.

In the last five years many organizations, politicians and researchers in the U.S. and Europe have been claiming that countries participating in the BRI could become economically and politically dependent on China since they would become Beijing's debtors, even lose natural resources and be spied upon by China.

Xi however announced in April last year that over 80 countries and organizations had joined the BRI and pledged to invest $126 billion in the initiative.

China is Vietnam’s largest trading partner, largest source of imports and tourists and the second largest export market behind only the U.S. last year. Two-way trade increased by 13.8 percent in 2018 to $106.7 billion, making up about 22 pecent of Vietnam's trade turnover which was $480 billion.

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