Washington won’t send high-level officials to China's Belt and Road summit

The first Belt and Road summit was held in 2017, when the U.S. sent a senior White House official

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TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- The US Department of State said on Tuesday (April 2) the country will not send high-level officials to attend China's second Belt and Road summit in Beijing in late April, citing concerns over the investment scheme's non-transparent financing practices, as well as its unsustainable and exclusive nature.

Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi (楊潔篪) said on March 30 that nearly 40 foreign leaders would attend the summit, though he didn't reveal the list. Russian President Vladimir Putin, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, and Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen are said to be participating in the event, according to a Reuters report.

The first Belt and Road summit was held in 2017 and was attended by Matt Pottinger, senior director for Asian affairs on the American National Security Council.

The Belt and Road initiative has been criticized by several participating nations, including Sri Lanka. Its strategically important Hambantota port is reportedly controlled by China after the local government failed to pay off a huge debt to the Chinese state-owned company. China is said to include the port as a means of expanding the reach of its Belt and Road initiative.

The initiative has been painted as predatory, or a debt trap, in various reports over the years.