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Belt and Road Initiative - China's Reconquest of the World

Published: April 26, 2019; 22:16 · (Vindobona)

Many heads of state did refrain from appearing at the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing this year, or are increasingly expressing themselves critically. Chancellor Sebastian Kurz also expressed his caution after meeting President Xi and Prime Minister Li Keqiang for talks.

Belt and Road Forum, Beijing: Chinese President Xi Jinping (center) with his wife, Peng Liyuan, Chinese contemporary folk singer and performing artist, and Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz. / Picture: © Bundeskanzleramt (BKA) / Dragan Tatic

The "Belt and Road Forum" in Beijing is the focus of Chancellor Sebastian Kurz's trip to China, in which 26 Austrian companies took part as part of an economic delegation.

"It is to be welcomed that the Chinese President has announced the market opening of his country", said Sebastian Kurz during his stay.

A concrete milestone will be the signing of an investment protection agreement between the EU and China next year.

"For an export-oriented country like Austria, the objective of the 'New Silk Road' project, which is to improve the transport infrastructure on the trade routes, is positive.

All in all, the project should be supported if it turns out to be to the advantage of all and if it acts at eye level," said the Federal Chancellor.

He pointed out how important it is in this context that Austria pays attention to its competitiveness.

This also applies to Europe as a whole.

The forum was attended by 40 heads of state and government, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and IMF chief Christine Lagarde.

"It is important to monitor the Belt and Road Initiative closely and to be vigilant, because there will be many more discussions on it in particular and on international cooperation in general", stressed the Austrian Head of Government. From the outset, Austria had shared and discussed all the drafts of the Joint Final Declaration with the EU.