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    Journalist take pictures outside the venue of a summit at the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing, Monday, May 15, 2017

    LIVE UPDATES: Second Belt and Road Forum Starts in Beijing

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    Leaders of 37 countries and officials from many other nations have arrived in Beijing to attend the three-day summit which kicked off Thursday.

    The three-day forum is dedicated to China's large-scale initiative on trade and transport infrastructure development across Asia, Europe, Russia Middle East and Africa. The Belt and Road initiative was first introduced in 2013 by China's President Xi Jinping during a state visit to Kazakhstan. Its core concept is to establish and maintain trade corridors between more than 60 countries in Central Asia, Europe, and Africa. The idea is inspired by the legacy of the historic Silk Road that connected the East and the West for centuries.

    Twelve topical forums and conferences are scheduled for Thursday, ahead of the official opening of the forum on Friday. Top-level meetings will happen on Friday, while Saturday will be dedicated to a joint session attended by the participating heads of state. All events of the forum will be chaired by Chinese President Xi Jinping.

    This is the second conference on the initiative. The first such conference was held in 2017 and gathered 29 heads of state and government.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin has noted ahead of his departure to Beijing that the forum could bring impetus to integration processes in Eurasia.

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