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Xi urges countries to coordinate policies, reject protectionism

IANS | Beijing |

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday urged world leaders to coordinate policies on development and reject protectionism within the framework of the Belt and Road initiative, his ambitious international investment plan.

"In a world of growing interdependence… no country can tackle the challenges or solve the world's problems on its own. Individual countries need to coordinate national policies," Xi said during a speech to world leaders on the final day of the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing.

Flanked by Russian President Vladimir Putin and Argentinian President Mauricio Macri, the Chinese leader called for other countries to reject protectionism and establish mechanisms to improve policy coordination and cooperation, Efe news reported.

Xi said he hoped that the new Silk Road forum, which has brought together leaders of 29 countries and representatives of multilateral bodies including the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, will lay the foundation for an initiative that benefits all.

"While the Belt and Road initiative focuses on the Asian and European continents, it does not exclude any target or party," he said.

The Chinese President said the economic plan, which he first unveiled in 2013, was already taking shape with several projects underway, and was supported by more than 100 countries and international organisations.

Although several countries sent representatives to the Belt and Road forum, some western leaders have remained sceptical of what they see as Beijing's attempt to expand its influence and improve its access to raw materials.