Few major Western leaders to attend Chinese summit

In another development however, Chinese President, Xi Jinping, also announced at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum, in Davos, Switzerland, that, from May 14 to 15, 2017, China will host in Beijing, the Belt and Road Forum, which is geared towards global cooperation. It was believed Tuesday night, but could not be confirmed, that Thailand was invited but Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha chose to bypass the event. Instead, finance minister Philip Hammond would be the United Kingdom representative at the summit.

"China is committed to promoting Africa economic take off and Nigeria, as the major African power is expected to build its own ability and come out with workable plans to meet the goal of the Belt and Road Initiative, which aims at integrating Africa in worldwide development process, as well as accelerating its development strategy 2030, 2063 vision".

Wang said the belt and road initiative was tasked with addressing the backlash against globalisation.

The initiative consists of two components, the land-based Silk Road Economic Belt from Asia via the Middle East to Europe and Maritime Silk Road connecting China's port facilities with the east African coast, leading to Europe via the Red Sea and the Mediterranean.

The list included only one leader from the Group of Seven (G7) industrialised nations, Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni.

Diplomatic sources in Beijing said China had hoped for at least some senior Western leaders to attend the event to burnish the plan's credentials and make it less China-centric.

So far, 28 heads of state and government including Russian President Vladimir Putin, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and over 80 leaders of worldwide organizations, 100 ministerial-level officials, as well as 1,200 delegates from various countries and regions will participate in the forum.

"This is a positive, cooperative conference, it shouldn't be politicized", Wang told reporters in Beijing, in response to a question asking if China felt insulted by the absence of top leaders from the USA and its allies, including Japan, Britain and Australia.

"This is an economic cooperation forum, an worldwide cooperation platform that everyone is paying attention to, supports and hopes to participate in", he said, adding representatives of 110 countries would come. Only six of the G20 countries, and six of the 28 members of European Union are attending at the highest level.

"They have explained to us many times, France has elections in May, as does Germany about then, so their leaders originally were really willing to attend". The attendance list for the summit is marked by the notable absence of leaders from major Western countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Germany and Canada.

Zhang Yong-Peng, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), in Beijing, China said on Tuesday.

"The Chinese are gunning for. global leadership so I think this OBOR summit is going to be huge", the official said.