Web Desk — China’s ambition to build a new Silk Road is not about seeking to expand its military role abroad nor about seeking to set up foreign bases, the Defense Ministry said on Thursday.
The new Silk Road, formally known as the Belt and Road initiative in China, is President Xi Jinping’s signature policy to expand links between Asia, Africa and Europe underpinned by billions of dollars in infrastructure investment.
At a summit in Beijing this month, Xi pledged $124 billion for the plan, promising to forge a path of peace, inclusiveness and free trade.
But China’s ambitions have caused nervousness in some countries, particularly India and in some European capitals, which suspect Beijing of using the plan to promote Chinese influence globally, pointing to investments in ports in places such as Pakistan that could one day be used by China’s navy.
Asked whether Chinese Belt and Road investments in ports in Greece, Pakistan and Sri Lanka had a covert military intention, Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Ren Guoqiang said such speculation was “groundless”.
The new Silk Road is about cooperation and trade, he told a regular monthly news briefing.