At the first day of the forum in Beijing, Chinese Finance Minister Liu Kun said China aims to make the Belt and Road initiative sustainable and to prevent debt risks.
Last year, Foreign Minister Wang Yi said in a speech Belt and Road was not a "geostrategic concept" but was part of efforts to build "a community with a shared future for mankind together with countries around the globe."
Leaders from 37 countries and dozens of officials are due to attend the three-day summit, including Russian President Vladimir Putin and Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte.
Tom Rafferty, China economist at The Economist Intelligence Unit, said China is using this week's summit to "reposition and, it hopes, revive the initiative after it lost its way in 2018 amid project delays and a slowdown in associated lending."
Mr Rafferty said the Chinese government "wants to convince the international community that the Belt and Road Initiative is inclusive and policy concessions in areas such as debt sustainability" are likely.