Beijing: China on Thursday said it is "fed up" of the US' constant criticism of its trillion dollar Belt and Road Initiative, as it claimed that over 150 countries have extended their "vote of support and confidence" for the ambitious project.
The US has been extremely critical of the BRI. The Trump administration has recently stepped up criticism against the mega initiative, cautioning countries around the world about the "predatory financing" of the project aimed at enhancing China's global influence by financing and building huge infrastructure projects.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has made scathing criticism of the BRI during his recent tours to the UK and Finland. During his visit to Britain, he reportedly said the BRI had undermined sovereignty of the countries and asked the UK government to be vigilant about it.
Reacting to Pompeo's remarks, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a media briefing that despite US criticism, over 6,000 officials representing over 150 countries and 92 international organisations attended the 2nd BRF forum held in Beijing from April 25 to April 27.
Such a huge attendance highlighted the success of the BRI, he said, adding that over 20 participants from America also attended the event, which was boycotted by the US and India.
Geng said the participation of so many countries in the event reflected the "vote of support and confidence" reposed by the international community on the BRI and is a "best reply to what the US has said and done".
"Certain people in the US have again played on the same old theme and slandered the BRI. We are fed up with that...I want remind them that they should not overestimate their capability to cook up the story and spread it around and do not understate others judgement," Geng said.
On Monday, addressing reporters travelling with him in Finland, Pompeo said China is using its government power through the BRI to achieve its national security objective. He said the Trump administration is leading global efforts to inform countries about the "predatory" Chinese economics.
Noting that the US has a huge economic interest in China's success and vice versa, Pompeo said the BRI needs to be transparent.
"It's got to be on a free and open basis. It can't be with the idea that you're going to loan a country money and then foreclose on that facility so that you can then build yourself a port or take that land and real estate. That's not appropriate. We have discouraged that. We have educated other countries around the world on that set of issues," he said.
India has been boycotting the BRI to protest over the USD 60 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) being laid through the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. The CPEC, which connects Gwadar Port in Pakistan's Balochistan with China's Xinjiang province, is the flagship project of the BRI.