BEIJING – China will seek to burnish President Xi Jinping's stature as a statesman at a gathering centered on his signature foreign policy effort envisioning a future world order in which all roads lead to Beijing.
The "Belt and Road Forum" opening Sunday is the latest high-profile appearance by Xi aimed at projecting his influence on the global stage ahead of a key ruling Communist Party congress later this year. All feed a fundamental yearning among ordinary Chinese: to see their country's prestige and status rise.
Attendees will include Presidents Vladimir Putin of Russia and Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines, but Western nations are largely sending lower-level officials. That's partly because of domestic situations but also reflects concerns that China may be exporting its own ideas of governance, while indebting poor countries.