Chinese President Xi Jinping speaking at the opening of the Belt and Road Forum is displayed on a big screen near a decoration depicting Chinese admiral Zheng ,who commanded expeditionary voyages across Asia and East Africa in the 15th century in Beijing. Picture: Ng Han Guan/AP

Beijing – China’s Belt and Road initiative - a proposal for a new Silk Road - would be a “splendid chapter of human progress” which would leverage the strengths of all the countries involved..

The is according to Chinese President Xi Jinping who delivered the keynote address at the opening ceremony of the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation on Sunday, in Beijing.

The two-day event, which ends tomorrow, was attended by 29 leaders, delegates, businesses, investors, scholars and media from more than 100 countries.

The initiative focuses on promoting policy, infrastructure and facilities, unimpeded trade, financial integration, closer people-to-people ties through extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits to all participating countries.

Xi said while the Belt and Road Initiative focused on Asian, European and African it was open to other countries too.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and Chinese President Xi Jinping, left, walk prior to the opening ceremony of the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing. Picture: Alexei Nikolsky/Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP

"All countries, from either Asia, Europe, Africa or the Americas, can be international cooperation partners of the Belt and Road Initiative."

So far, the initiative has won support from 130 countries and 70 international organisations, of which over 40 have signed cooperation agreements with China.

He said the plan was not to reinvent the wheel, but to rather complement development strategies of countries involved by leveraging their strengths.

Xi said for the initiative to thrive it would require peace and stability.

International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde, ceter right, arrives for the opening ceremony of the Belt and Road Forum at the China National Convention Center (CNCC) in Beijing. Picture: Mark Schiefelbein/AP Pool

"The ancient silk routes thrived in times of peace, but lost vigour in times of war.

We should foster new international relations featuring win-win cooperation, forge partnerships of dialogue… friendship rather than alliance," he said.

Countries involved in the initiative should respect each other's sovereignty, development paths and social systems, interests and concerns.

Czech Republic's President Milos Zeman speaks during the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing. Picture: Lintao Zhang/Pool Photo via AP

"Some regions along the ancient Silk Road used to be a land of milk and honey. But today, these places are often associated with conflict, turbulence, crisis and have many challenges." said Xi.

He urged counties to strive for for cooperation and sustainable security so that ambitious plan would be a “road to prosperity”.

China will seek to burnish President Xi Jinping's stature as a world-class statesman at the international gathering centered on his signature foreign policy effort that envisions a future world order in which all roads lead to Beijing. Picture: Ng Han Guan/AP

"We should focus on development, release the growth potential of various countries, achieve economic integration and interconnected development and deliver benefits to all," he said.

"We should establish a stable and sustainable financial safeguard system that keeps risks under control, create new models of investment and financing, encourage greater cooperation between government and private capital and build a diversified financing system and a multi-tiered capital market."

Weekend Argus