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Chinese President Xi Jinping has called for closer cooperation among countries across Asia and Europe in areas from anti-terrorism to finance, as officials from dozens of governments met to promote a Beijing-led initiative to expand trade links across the region.

Speaking to an audience that included Russian President Vladimir Putin and leaders of 29 other countries, Xi outlined the most ambitious political vision yet for the 'Belt and Road Initiative,' a multibillion-dollar project to build ports, railways and other facilities.

It covers an arc of 65 countries reaching from the South Pacific through South and Central Asia to Europe and Africa.

The initiative would provide some of the $7 trillion of investment in infrastructure the Asian Development Bank says the region needs this decade.

Speaking with Sky News Business, Former Trade Minister Andrew Robb says both China and India are re-emerging as global heavyweights.

'These countries are re-emerging to where they were for most of the last 20th century as part of the global heavyweights in the world,' Robb said.

'They are expected to head back to this position this century to share power economically and politically with the United States, and the US has to get used to this fact despite the initial resistance to geopolitical change.'

But governments including Russia, the United States and India are uneasy that China is using its status as the second-largest global economy to expand its political influence.

Xi insisted his government has 'no desire to impose our will on others.'

But he also called for economic integration and cooperation on financial regulation, anti-terrorism and security - all fields in which China's economic heft would give it a prominent voice.

'We should foster a vision of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security and create a security environment built and shared by all,' Xi said.

He called for stepped-up action against terrorism and what he called its root causes of poverty and social injustice.

This move, Mr Robb believed, would help strengthen the East as Chinese infrastructure created thousands of jobs.

'Countries from Eastern Europe all the way through to ASEAN can benefit from helping to feed the Chinese and engage in trade and investment.' Robb said.

'It is in their self interest, but we can all benefit from it as long as it is done properly and there's a clarity in how the decisions are taken. We can all help build those projects and there was a lot of support at the conference from a variety of countries who saw the possibilities for themselves'

In a reminder of the potential security threats facing the region, North Korea test-fired a ballistic missile Sunday that flew for a half-hour and reached an unusually high altitude of 2,000 kilometers (1,240 miles).

The launch was seen as a challenge to a new South Korean president who was elected last week and came as U.S., Japanese and European naval forces gathered for war games in the Pacific.