A paramilitary police officer stands in front of red flags on Tiananmen Square in Beijing (China) on Monday, March 2, 2015.
Tomohiro Ohsumi | Bloomberg | Getty Images
China's President Xi Jinping is characterized by his belt and road initiative, which is much more than just infrastructure.
The program began some six years ago with a focus on developing rail and sea trade routes connecting China with Central Asia. Europe and Africa. While critics have charged that the initiative is only a hallmark of Beijing to spread its global influence through lending ̵
This is The second Belt and Road Forum, which was completed in Beijing this weekend, showed that the China-led program now aims to influence technology and governance around the world.
"There will be a departure from … hard infrastructure projects," said Tom Rafferty, chief economist for China at the Economist Intelligence Unit, on Friday. "(The Belt and Road is) will have a wider range."
Indeed, the Chinese leader, Rafferty said, saw the program as "an initiative for global governance in China."
Xi delivered a speech at the opening ceremony of the forum on Friday announced that China through the belt and the road will "strengthen cooperation in the areas of customs, tax and audit" and continue cooperation in technological development.
The joint communique published at the end of the forum said that Belt and Road participants had "the goal of improving connectivity between financial markets" and promoting the development of digital infrastructure.
Although it has always been difficult to pinpoint the exact nature of the Belt and Road initiative's latest announcements show that Beijing, as many had expected, used the program as a means to expand its global influence.
"I think it's fair to say that the launch phase of Belt and Road is over," said Jacob Shapiro, director of analysis for the online publication Geopolitical Futures, in an e-mail.
"Some countries have signed up for money." It has been distributed, some projects have been completed and many other projects have either failed or not started, "he said." I now assume that China is more strategic about where and what projects it will adopt, with the goal of achieving the long – term goal of The Eurasian powers are the connection of the Eurasian landmass. "
China already has a close relationship with key countries in Central Asia and is constantly invading Europe, with Italy being the first G-7 nation to open the Belt and Road in March A few days later, Luxembourg signed its own agreement with Beijing.
Switzerland has also formalized its support, with President of the Swiss Confederation, Ueli Maurer, one of almost 40 nationals last weekend Leaders named in a joint communique for the forum.
Russian President Wl Admiral Putin and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras were also present. The US did not send a high-ranking representative.
The net result shows that since the first Belt and Road Forum in 2017, Beijing has received more international support for the program – despite criticism from people like Washington.  "(Xi) wants to establish China as a world power," said Rafferty. "China probably feels that things are moving in the right direction (in the search for Belt and Road support), and the general movement still seems to be there."