Chinese President Xi Jinping has sought to ease growing concerns about his ambitious Belt and Road Initiative, vowing to prevent debt risks and saying that his global infrastructure project is not an exclusive club.
Xi made these remarks at a summit on his signature foreign policy, which aims to reinvent the ancient Silk Road to connect Asia to Europe and Africa through massive investments in maritime, road and rail projects.
The initiative offers to bring much-needed modern infrastructure to developing countries, but critics say it mainly favours Chinese companies while saddling nations with debt and causing environmental damage.
China has already rejected accusations that Belt and Road is a "debt trap" and a geopolitical tool for Beijing's ambitions of becoming a global superpower.
Leaders from 37 countries have come to Beijing for the three-day forum, with officials from scores of other nations in attendance.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan and Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, whose country became the first G7 member to sign up to Belt and Road, are among the prominent dignitaries. (AIR NEWS)