BEIJING: Around 1,500 delegates, including heads of states and government leaders, from 130 countries and international organizations are set to attend today’s “Belt and Road” Forum for International Cooperation, the Chinese foreign ministry said.
President Rodrigo Duterte is one of the 29 government leaders who will participate in the forum upon the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping.
The Filipino leader arrived in Beijing at 10 p.m. on Saturday from Hong Kong where he met the Filipino community. President Duterte earlier attended the World Economic Forum in Phonm Penh, Cambodia.
Aside from attending the Belt and Road Forum, President Duterte will have expanded bilateral meetings with President Xi and Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang during his second visit to Beijing.
In October last year, President Duterte embarked on a four-day state visit to China, a crucial trip that normalized China-Philippines relations amid the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) dispute.
Other Association of Southeast Asian Nation (Asean) leaders who will attend the Beijing forum are Indonesian President Joko Widodo, Myanmar State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, Laos President Bounnhang Vorachit, and Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang.
The Philippines is the rotating chairman of the 10-member Asean, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.
Other leaders coming for Belt and Road forum are Presidents Vladimir Putin of Russia, Doris Leuthard of the Swiss Confederation, Mauricio Macri of Argentina, Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus, Michelle Bachelet of Chile, Milos Zeman of Czech Republic, Nursultan Nazarbeyev of Kazakhstan, Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya, Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, Shavkat Mirziyoyev of Uzbekistan and Almazbek Atambayev of Krygyzstan.
Prime ministers joining the event are Hailemariam Desalegn of Ethiopia, Voreqe Bainimarama of Fiji, Alexis Tsipras of Greece, Viktor Orban of Hungary, Paolo Gentiloni of Italy, Jargaltulga Erdenebat of Mongolia, Nawaz Sharif of Pakistan, Beata Szydlo of Poland, Aleksandar Vucic of Serbia, Mariano Rajoy of Spain and Ranil Wickremesinghe of Sri Lanka.
Aside from 29 heads of states and government leaders, government officials from countries along the Belt and Road routes are set to join scholars and entrepreneurs as well as officials of international institutions.
Among them are UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim and International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde.
The Chinese foreign ministry said over 4,000 local and foreign journalists have registered to cover the event.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said the Belt and Road Initiative has been gaining wide support from international community since it was proposed by President Xi in 2013.