BEIJING, Feb. 21 (Xinhua) -- China has pushed forward the Belt and Road Initiative with solid progress and the initiative is driving the nation's opening-up efforts, Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng said Tuesday.
China stepped up policy coordination with countries along the Belt and Road in 2016 and promoted regional connectivity through large-scale projects in areas such as railways, roads, civil aviation, electricity and telecommunications, Gao said at a press conference.
The initiative, proposed by China in 2013, aims to build a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along the ancient Silk Road trade routes.
Preparation for the Belt and Road forum for international cooperation, which will be held in Beijing in May, has progressed in an orderly manner, Gao told reporters.
"This will be the first time for China to host an international forum at the highest level focused on construction of the Belt and Road," said Gao, adding that unimpeded trade will be a key topic at the forum.
The event is important to address regional and global economic problems and to facilitate more invigorated, inclusive and sustainable economic globalization, he stressed.