French President Emmanuel Macron said on Monday China and Europe should work together on Beijing’s “Belt and Road” initiative, a project aiming to build a modern-day “Silk Road” he said could not be “one-way”.
“The ancient Silk Roads were never only Chinese,” Macron told an audience of academics, students and businessmen in Xian, an eastern departure point of the ancient Silk Road.
“By definition, these roads can only be shared. If they are roads, they cannot be one-way,” he said.
Unveiled in 2013, the Belt and Road project is aimed at connecting China by land and sea to Southeast Asia, Pakistan and Central Asia, and beyond to the Middle East, Europe and Africa.
Xi pledged $124 billion for the plan at a summit in May but it has faced suspicion in Western capitals that it is intended more to assert Chinese influence than Beijing’s professed desire to spread prosperity.