Quotes from leaders at China's New Silk Road meeting

Markets Associated Press

This week's conference in Beijing centered on President Xi Jinping's "One Belt, One Road" initiative has drawn heads of state and government from 29 countries, along with leaders of global organizations including the United Nations and International Monetary Fund.

Continue Reading Below

Some quotes from a few of the meeting's leading participants touching on the significance of Beijing's project to revive ancient Silk Road trading routes and bind China to Asia, Europe and Africa through infrastructure projects and transportation links:

___

INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND MANAGING DIRECTOR CHRISTINE LAGARDE: "It is about connecting culture. It is about connecting communities it is about enriching economies and improving the standard of living of people."

___

RUSSIAN PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN: "Poverty, social chaos ... the development level of countries and regions — all this creates a breeding ground for international terrorism, extremism as well as irregular migration. We shall not be able to live up to these challenges should we fail to overcome the stagnation of the global economic development."

Continue Reading Below

___

U.N. SECRETARY GENERAL ANTONIO GUTERRES: "It is in our shared interest to show that the global economy can serve all the world's people."

___

CZECH PRESIDENT MILOS ZEMAN: "In all of history, except for the Marshall Plan, there was practically no long-term project which needs enormous courage. Let me express my gratitude for People's Republic of China for this courage, and especially let me appreciate China's president for the courage which is so rare."

___

ETHIOPIAN PRIME MINISTER HAILEMARIAM DESALEGN: "China has taken the leadership in laying the foundations for the realization of our shared vision for an open, fair and prosperous world. Achievement of this vision will require our political commitment and a huge sum of resources from all of us."

___

TURKISH PRESIDENT RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN: "This is going to be the kind of initiative that will put an end to terrorism."

___

PAKISTANI PRIME MINISTER NAWAZ SHARIF: "Peace and development go hand in hand. 'One Belt, One Road' signifies that geo-economics must take precedence over geopolitics and that the center of gravity should shift from conflict to cooperation. We see it as a path for overcoming terrorism and extremism."

___

U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL EAST ASIA DIRECTOR MATT POTTINGER: "American companies have much to offer here. U.S. firms can offer the best-value goods and services required over the life of a project. U.S. firms have a long and successful track record in global infrastructure development, and are ready to participate in 'Belt and Road' projects."

___

GREEK PRIME MINISTER ALEXIS TSIPRAS: "As a country with a rich cultural heritage and the world leader in the tourist industry, we highly value the importance of this initiative for people-to-people contacts, cultural exchanges and tourism."

___

FORMER U.S. TREASURY SECRETARY HENRY PAULSON: "I know the United States has been among those countries apparently most skeptical of the 'Belt and Road.' Simply put, the more China can demonstrate that the 'Belt and Road' initiative is open to outside participation in this way, the more it will be embraced by global and even American firms and suppliers."

___

GERMAN ECONOMY MINISTER BRIGITTE ZYPRIES: "For the German companies, it's always relevant that they know what is going to be built and that the procedures to be part in the buildings are the same for every company and every country. Of course Germany stands for transparency, Germany stands for a level playing field, Germany stands for fair conditions for workers. ... We always think that's important and we always fight for it."