01:03 GMT13 August 2020
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    The second edition of China’s Belt and Road forum, which will be held in Beijing the next week, will gather 37 heads of state and government, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Friday.

    BEIJING (Sputnik) – The Foreign Minister told a press conference that the gathering will become the nation's major international event in 2019.

    "The second Belt and Road forum will be held in Beijing on April 25-27. It will become China’s largest international event this year. Thirty-seven leaders of state and government will participate in the forum," Wang told a press conference.

    The top diplomat continued by saying that the leaders of Austria, Egypt, Hungary, Italy, Russia, the United Arab Emirates and other states will arrive in China for the forum.

    Mr Wang also added that representatives of the United States and North Korea will participate in the upcoming Belt and Road forum in Beijing.

    Moreover, the International Monetary Fund Managing Director, Christine Lagarde, and Antonio Guterres, the UN secretary-general, are also expected to participate in the Belt and Road forum, according to Wang.

    The foreign minister also addressed the program of the event. On April 25, 12 forums and conferences dedicated to various topics will be held. On April 26, there will be a solemn opening ceremony and high-level meetings, while on April 27, the leaders will attend a plenary session.

    READ MORE: Strong Impetus': 17 Arab States Join China's Belt and Road Initiative

    Chinese President Xi Jinping will chair all the forum events and will give a speech at the opening. Moreover, Xi and China’s first lady will organize a gala dinner for the participants of the forum.

    The first Belt and Road forum was held in 2017, gathering 29 heads of state and government.

    The Belt and Road Initiative, also known as the One Belt, One Road project, was first announced by Chinese President Xi Jinping back in 2013. The project remains one of Xi's most ambitious foreign policy and economic plans. 

    The objective of the plan is to boost cooperation between Eurasian countries and advance economic growth in the region. The project also seeks to promote investment in projects that would connect dozens of countries across Africa, Asia and Europe through the creation of infrastructure networks resembling the ancient Silk Road trading routes.

    The infrastructure project is continuing its global expansion with Switzerland being the latest to indicate its intention to adhere to the initiative.

    Previously, Italy became the first G7 nation to join the BRI followed by Luxembourg that signed a memorandum of understanding on participation in the ambitious project. Similarly, Greece and Portugal were among those signing the memo in August and December last year correspondingly.


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