Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged $2 billion for a new development fund for poor countries on a U.N. visit showcasing Beijing's growing global role. Xi's announcement, made in his first address to the United Nations, follows longstanding criticism from the United States and other developed countries that China has not taken responsibilities in line with its aspirations for a greater global role. Addressing a U.N. summit on development, Xi said that China would launch an assistance fund for developing countries with an initial investment of $2 billion.
The Chinese leader said that his country would step up investment in the least developed countries -- which are mostly in Africa -- by at least $12 billion by 2030. China has been an increasingly active investor around the world, although it has generally focused on seeking resources rather than broader humanitarian goals. Xi said China would also relieve debts owed by least developed countries this year. He did not provide a figure on the debts or say which countries would be affected. The United Nations on Friday set a goal of ending extreme poverty by 2030, an effort that the global body says could require up to $5 trillion a year.