It is just the second year but the largest trade infrastructure in the history of mankind, a signature project of Xi Jinping, seems to lose steam.
European nations, the US, Russia, Japan and India didn't turn up for the three-day second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation. Those who came lamented that BRI projects continue to impact freedom and openness in the region. Also, the stringent Chinese debt conditions and size of the projects make sustainability questionable.
Xi has agreed to recalibrate projects and discuss issues of exclusivity, sustainability and standards. But these players are pushing further to convince Beijing to make the BRI more inclusive by partnering with other countries and organisations, including development banks. Xi has shown the first signs of accommodating, but its impact on the plan and how the regional players receive it will have to be seen.