French President Emmanuel Macron delivers a speech at Daminggong Palace during a visit to the northern Chinese city of Xian. Photograph:( AFP )
French President Emmanuel Macron on a three-day visit to China declared today that the country's key silk road initiative was "never only Chinese" and should be "shared".
The Silk road initiative is President Xi's major foreign policy project and has been enshrined in the Chinese constitution in the 19th session of the Communist Party of China.
The One Belt, One Road(OBOR) initiative strives to link China to Asia and Europe through land and waterways to open key trade routes, a move which several nations including India have been resisting.
During his visit, Macron said: "The ancient Silk Roads were never only Chinese, by definition, these roads can only be shared," adding,"If they are roads, they cannot be one-way."
China has inked several agreements with Pakistan and Nepal to construct road projects to pave the way for the OBOR project to take root, however, India has been resisting the move after the foreign ministry said last year that several roads pass through the disputed PoK region in Pakistan.
Last month, Maldives President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom pledged support for the OBOR project during his visit to Beijing. Belt and Road Initiative squares with the development strategies of the Maldives, Xi told Gayoom during the meeting.
The Chinese authorities are also keen to get Nepal and Myanmar to sign the OBOR project.