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Over 100 countries have signed agreements with China to cooperate in BRI projects like railways, ports, highways and other infrastructure. According to a Refinitiv database, over 2,600 projects at a cost of $3.7 trillion are linked to the initiative.

Restrictions on travel and the flow of goods across borders, as well as local measures to combat COVID-19, were the main reasons for the impacts on projects, said Wang.

"As the situation improves, we have confidence that the projects will come back and the execution of them will speed up," he said.

The challenge of the pandemic to BRI projects follows a pushback in 2018, when officials in Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and elsewhere criticized projects there as costly and unnecessary.

China scaled back some plans after several countries sought to review, cancel or scale down commitments, citing concerns over costs, erosion of sovereignty, and corruption.

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