China's Xi Jinping pledges infrastructure spending across Asia, Europe and Africa - UPI.com
UPI reports: "President Xi Jinping kicked off the inaugural Belt and Road Forum in Beijing on Sunday with promises to take China to the 'center of the world stage.'
The forum was an economic convention of sorts, with Xi, China's president and Communist Party leader, as the main showcase. Dozens of leaders from Russia and Asia were in attendance. The U.S. declined to send officials, and aside from an Italian delegation, Europe was absent.
During opening remarks, Xi pledged $100 billion for China's development banks -- money for massive infrastructure projects in Asia, Europe and Africa. The president has dubbed the funding initiative 'One Belt, One Road.' The idea is to facilitate a 21st century Silk Road, a system of trains, ports and bridges -- an economic conveyor belt connecting three continents."
Comment: This is a very ambitious project to restore the old Silk Road trade routes and indeed make them better than ever. As this report notes, it's about trade and development but it's also about increasing China's power and influence. This is an important development worth keeping an eye on.