China’s Foreign Ministry announced on Friday that the US will be sending representatives, led by White House adviser Matt Pottinger, to the One Belt, One Road summit in Beijing this weekend, reports Reuters.
The change in heart came as the Trump administration hailed a trade deal with China that would open its market to US credit rating agencies and credit card companies, as well as resume imports of US beef.
“The United States has realized the importance of the Belt and Road Initiative and will send its delegates to attend the summit,” vice finance minister Zhu Guangyao said Friday.
The surprise attendance marks a major shift in US policy towards Chinese President Xi Jinping’s flagship initiative, which had been viewed as competing with the Obama administration’s now defunct Trans-Pacific Partnership.
China listed the US attendance at the forum as one of the 10-point initial results of the 100-day action plan of the US-China Comprehensive Economic Dialogue, released on Friday, reports the South China Morning Post.
In what is sure to amplify the public relations win for Xi Jinping, South Korea also decided to send a delegation at the last minute, as Seoul begins possible efforts to mend ties with Beijing, which have come under stress following the deployment of THAAD.