Terming BRI 'geo-strategic tool' is misinterpretation: Zhang
Beijing: China said on Sunday that it was a "misinterpretation" to describe its ambitious multi-billion Belt and Road project a "geo-strategic tool".
The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), earlier known as One Belt One Road, is a prestigious initiative of Chinese President Xi Jinping aimed at building rail, maritime and road links from Asia to Europe and Africa in a revival of ancient Silk Road trading routes.
It has been a major bone of contention between India and China as one portion of the corridor includes USD 50 billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) over which India has protested as it passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).
"To say that the Belt and Road Initiative is a geo- strategic tool, in my view, this is a misinterpretation of the initiative," said Zhang Yesui, spokesman for the National People's Congress (NPC), China's rubber-stamp Parliament.
"Five years ago, President Xi Jinping put forward the (BRI). Over the past five years, thanks to the joint efforts from all parties, this initiative is being twurned into actions from a concept, and it is being translated into reality from a vision," he said.
India had boycotted the Belt and Road Forum (BRF) organised by China in May last year to highlight its concerns over Beijing's pushing of projects through the PoK.
There were also concerns of debt burden brought in by the BRI projects after Sri Lanka opted for long-term lease of its Hambantota port for USD 1.12 billion debt swap.
Although many countries have voiced concern over the project, China claims that 74 counters and international organisations have signed the cooperation document on BRI with Beijing.
Earlier, China managed to include the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road (the components of BRI) as development projects in a resolution related to Afghanistan passed by UN Security Council in March last year. Agencies