China says 90 countries have confirmed attendance for Belt and Road Initiative

Construction site of East Coast Rail Link (ECRL), in Bentong

BEIJING (Reuters) - China said on Thursday that 90 countries have confirmed attendance for its Belt and Road Initiative conference being held in October,

The third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation (BRF) will be held in Beijing in October, the foreign ministry has previously said, with 2023 marking the 10th anniversary of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

Several foreign leaders are expected to attend, including Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Argentine President Alberto Fernandez, state media reported.

Russian President Vladimir Putin also has a scheduled visit to China in October when the country hosts the One Belt One Road forum, Putin's aide Yuri Ushakov said recently, according to Russia's state news agency TASS.

"We have received an invitation and plan to go to China," Ushakov said, according to a report from the Global Times.

China's foreign ministry said the country has signed Belt and Road cooperation documents with more than 150 countries and over 30 international organizations, according to Xinhua.

"Over the past decade, Belt and Road cooperation has achieved fruitful outcomes," Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin recently said at a press conference, adding that it has established more than 3,000 cooperation projects and galvanized nearly $1 trillion of investment, state media reported.

Critics see the ambitious Belt and Road initiative - billed as recreating the ancient Silk Road to boost global trade infrastructure - as a tool for President Xi Jinping's China to spread its geopolitical and economic influence.

Debate in the West over economic dependence on China has cast a shadow over longer-term trade and investment relations with Beijing. Italy, the sole Group of Seven nation in Belt and Road, said the decision by a previous government to join had been "atrocious".

(Reportin by Andrew Hayley; Writing by Bernard Orr; Editing by Alison Williams and Kim Coghill)