By the end of the month, Beijing will give the world a new look at its freshly polished Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) at what is planned as China's biggest international summit this year.

The global transport infrastructure investment project remains a cornerstone of the foreign policy of Chinese leader Xi Jinping, and is even written into the Communist Party's constitution.

Last month's National People's Congress (NPC) reaffirmed the centrality of the BRI, with its massive price tag (often cited at $900bn), its long roll of participant countries (115 at last count), and its land and sea routes linking China more tightly to every corner of the globe (except some corners in the US, Japan, Australia and India).