The United States will send a delegation to a summit for China’s global development plan in Beijing this weekend, China’s Foreign Ministry said on Friday.
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The delegation will be led by Matt Pottinger, special assistant to U.S. President Donald Trump and senior director for Asia at the National Security Council.
“The United States recognizes the importance of China’s One Belt and One Road initiative and is to send delegates to attend,” according to the joint release by China’s finance and commerce ministries on Friday.
Representatives from the European Union, France, Germany, Britain, Japan and South Korea will also attend the summit, according to China’s Xinhua news agency.
They will join 29 heads of state and government leaders in what is formally called the Belt and Road Forum (BRF) to discuss Chinese President Xi Jinping’s ambitious trade and infrastructure development plan.
The Belt and Road Initiative was proposed by President Xi in 2013. It aimed at rebuilding the ancient trading routes from China to Europe overland and by sea, officially refers to the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-century Maritime Silk Road.
The New Silk Road project is expected to expand links between Asia, Africa and Europe with billions of dollars in infrastructure investment, but it has struggled to generate much traction from major Western economies. Of the 29 visiting leaders attending, only one – Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni – is from a G7 nation.
The Belt and Road Initiative is seen as an alternative to the Trans-Pacific Partnership regional trade pact, which was reached by the Obama administration but did not include China. In January, President Trump withdrew the United States from the partnership, putting the future of the deal into uncertainty.
“We’ve said all along the Belt and Road is an open, inclusive initiative,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a daily news briefing. “We welcome all parties to participate.”
The U.S. attendance was part of a deal reached between the two countries announced on Friday.
Under the deal, China will allow U.S. imports of beef no later than July 16, the 100th day after the meeting between President Trump and President Xi. By that deadline, the United States will issue a proposed rule to allow Chinese cooked poultry to enter U.S. markets.
China will also allow U.S. financial firms to provide card payment and credit rating services in China.
“We believe that Sino-U.S. economic cooperation is the trend of the times… We will continue to move forward,” Chinese Vice Finance Minister Zhu Guangyao told a Beijing media briefing.
Trump had pledged during his presidential campaign that he would stop trade practices by China that he deemed unfair to the United States.
But Trump’s rhetoric toward China has softened in the past month, expressing admiration for Xi and saying he wanted Beijing to help deal with the North Korean nuclear threat.
Shortly after their meeting last month, Trump tweeted that he had told Xi that China would get a “far better” trade deal if it worked to rein in North Korea.