China admitted on Sunday that its multi-billion dollar Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) was affected by the coronavirus pandemic, but said the effects were "temporary and limited".
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said that from a long-term perspective, the corona virus will "strengthen and energize BRI cooperation" and open up new opportunities.
He said calling for public health expansion in the face of COVID-19 around the world would give new impetus to project expansion.
"Indeed, COVID-19 has had some impact on Belt-Road collaboration, but the impact is temporary and limited," Wang Yi told the media, answering a question about the coronavirus impact on BRI.
Wang Yi explained BRI's progress, saying that China has signed BRI cooperation documents with 138 countries, started more than 2,000 projects, and created thousands of jobs in partner countries over the past seven years.
Over the same period, China's trade in merchandise with BRI partner countries exceeded $ 7.8 trillion, while Chinese direct investment exceeded $ 110 billion, he said.
The BRI was launched by President Xi Jinping when he came to power in 2013. It is said to connect Southeast Asia, Central Asia, the Gulf region, Africa and Europe with a network of land and sea routes.
The Trump administration has been extremely critical of the BRI, in which the $ 60 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a flagship project, and believes that China's "predatory" funding is smaller districts under enormous debt leaves that endanger their sovereignty.