BEIJING — President Xi Jinping of China delivered a sweeping vision of a new economic global order on Sunday, positioning his country as an alternative to an inward-looking United States under President Trump.
Mr. Xi, surrounded by autocratic leaders from Russia and Central Asia at a forum in Beijing, pledged more than $100 billion for development banks in China that he said would spearhead vast spending on infrastructure across Asia, Europe and Africa. Noticeably absent from the gathering were leaders of major Western democracies.
Sparing no modesty for the plan, Mr. Xi called the initiative, known as “One Belt, One Road,” “this project of the century.” The program, based on Chinese-led investment in bridges, rails, ports and energy in over 60 countries, form the backbone of China’s economic and geopolitical agenda.
In a new twist for China, which has generally been skeptical of social programs by the World Bank, Mr. Xi said the initiative would tackle poverty in recipient countries. He promised to deliver emergency food aid and said China would begin “100 poverty projects,” though he stopped short of providing details.
He portrayed the plan as “economic globalization that is open, inclusive, balanced and beneficial to all.” China would invite the World Bank and other international institutions to join it in meeting the needs of developing — and developed — countries, he said, in a suggestion that he is seeking to forge new markets and export China’s model of state-led expansion.
Mr. Xi stressed the differences between the United States system of alliances and his notion of commerce under China.
“We have no intention to form a small group that would dismantle stability but we hope to create a big family of harmonious coexistence,” he said, with the Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin, in the front row of the convention center where he spoke.
So far, China has spent only $50 billion on the initiative that Mr. Xi announced four years ago, a relatively small amount compared with the vast domestic investment program.