efe-epaBeijing

Heads of state of 28 countries will participate in the Belt and Road Forum on May 14 and 15 in Beijing, the Chinese foreign minister said Tuesday.

Wang Yi said the Presidents of Russia, Turkey, Kazakhstan, Belarus, the Philippines, Argentina and Chile, along with heads of states of Spain, Italy, Poland, Malaysia and Mongolia will attend the summit.

Chinese President Xi Jinping will kickstart the meet with a speech, which will be followed by a round table conference with the attending leaders.

There will be six other thematic forums - running parallel to the main event - in which more than 1,200 high-ranking officials from over 100 countries and international organizations will participate, along with businessmen and academics.

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde and World Bank President Jim Yong Kim will also attend the forum.

However, a majority of the western countries - the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, and Australia - are not likely to send any representations to the meet.

The foreign minister said France and Germany had initially expressed interest in sending their first level delegations, but it was later canceled owing to upcoming elections in both countries.

Wang added China was unwilling to politicize the issue and that most of the participating countries are from the Euro-Asian region and eastern Africa, which are part of the new trade route.

The initiative was launched in 2013 by Xi to deepen cooperation with countries in central, southern and southeastern Asia, along with eastern Africa, for constructing infrastructure to promote development and strengthen bilateral trade with China.

The objective of the May meet is to promote dialogue and cooperation internationally regarding the initiative, stressed the foreign minister.

He also added that China's proposal of a New Silk Route is to revitalize global economic growth in the face of weak recovery after the great economic crisis of 2007-2008.

He said there is not a lack of economic resources to promote recovery, but stressed the need to consolidate fragmented resources.