Chinese Premier Li Keqiang urged Japan to join China’s “Belt and Road” infrastructure initiative on Thursday, saying its participation would likely contribute to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s economic stimulus policy.
“Our working-level cooperation will evolve. Our ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative will be coordinated with Japan’s growth strategy,” Li said in a speech in Tokyo at a reception celebrating the 40th anniversary of the signing of a bilateral friendship treaty.
At a summit between Abe and Li on Wednesday, Japan and China agreed to launch a public-private council to consider specific cooperative projects related to Beijing’s One Belt, One Road cross-border infrastructure initiative.
China has sought to expand its infrastructure networks in Asia, the Middle East, Europe and Africa to attain its goal of more closely connecting countries along the ancient Silk Road, but concerns linger in Japan over Beijing’s transparency regarding financing.
In the speech, Li also said China will make efforts to protect the global economy by promoting free trade, an apparent reference to protectionist moves promoted by U.S. President Donald Trump.