Xi's 'Belt and Road' project included
Chinese President Xi Jinping's vast "Belt and Road" infrastructure project was unexpectedly included in the ruling Communist Party's constitution yesterday, giving it greater policy heft and added pressure to succeed.
The party's amended charter, approved at the close of its twice-a-decade congress, pledged to "pursue the Belt and Road initiative", a further sign of Xi's expanding power and evidence that the ambitious "Silk Road"-like initiative will endure beyond Xi's tenure.
It also underscores how the Communist Party has increased its attention to foreign policy and reflects Xi's growing desire for China to take a global leadership role, analysts said.
"Everyone knows that the Belt and Road is very important to Xi, it has his personal stamp and authority," said Peter Cai, a non-resident fellow at Sydney-based think tank Lowy Institute.
"But to have major policy, especially an external engagement policy, to be written into a party constitution, at least in recent memory, it is something quite significant," he said.
First mentioned during a speech Xi gave to university students in Kazakhstan in 2013, the plan is a vehicle for China to take a greater role on the international stage by funding and building global transport and trade links in more than 60 countries.
Xi has heavily promoted the initiative, inviting world leaders to Beijing in May for an inaugural summit at which he pledged $124 billion in funding for the plan.