Raft of countries including Turkey have refused to attend latest summit amid growing concern about debt diplomacy

As China fetes its Belt and Road initiative at a summit this week, Chinese officials will be working hard to defend the flagship project from growing international criticism.

The three-day forum starting on Thursday is meant to promote Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s “project of the century”, a foreign policy initiative launched in 2013 to revive ancient trading routes between Asia and Europe, as well as build new links in the Middle East, Africa, and South America.

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Read More Belt and Road forum: China’s ‘project of the century’ hits tough times

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