Russia closely backs Belt and Road Forum for intl cooperation
BRI facilitates Beijing-Moscow collaboration, vital for Eurasian economy: experts
Published: Oct 16, 2023 09:01 PM
China Russia Photo:VCG

China Russia Photo:VCG

China is set to host the third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation (BRF) in Beijing from Tuesday to Wednesday, with Russian President Vladimir Putin attending, which has been hailed by analysts as another milestone in the development of China-Russia bilateral ties and demonstration of Russia's support for the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and willingness to further boost pragmatic collaboration. 

Analysts expect China and Russia to engage in in-depth exchanges with the goal of further tapping the potential of raising the levels of economic, trade and investment cooperation, improve bilateral cooperation institutions and mechanisms, and consolidate and expand energy and connectivity cooperation at the BRF. 

Ahead of Putin's visit to Beijing, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov arrived in the Chinese capital on Monday morning for a visit. China's top diplomat Wang Yi, a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and Minister of Foreign Affairs, met with Lavrov.

During their meeting, Wang said that China will use the forum as an opportunity to form a broader international consensus and promote the new stage of high-quality development of the BRI. China appreciates President Putin's high regard and support for the joint construction of the BRI, and welcomes Russia's continued active participation in contributing to the promotion of common development and prosperity, Wang said.

Lavrov said the bilateral relationship between Russia and China is maintaining positive momentum. Russia looks forward to maintaining close strategic communication with China and deepening practical cooperation in various fields, he added. 

The BRI has become an important platform for promoting international cooperation, and all parties are actively participating. The joint construction of the BRI also promotes mutually beneficial cooperation in the Eurasian continent. President Putin is looking forward to meeting with President Xi Jinping and believes that this summit will be a complete success, Lavrov said. 

Putin's attendance of the BRF will be of great significance for the development of the China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for a new era, showing Russia's growing embrace of the BRI, Cui Heng, a scholar from the China National Institute for SCO International Exchange and Judicial Cooperation, told the Global Times on Monday. 

Putin attended the two previous forums in 2017 and 2019.

Russia has increasingly realized the important role the BRI played in the past decade in both boosting pragmatic collaboration between the two countries and in promoting the Eurasian economy as a whole, Cui noted. 

According to statistics released by the General Administration of Customs of China on Friday, from January to September 2023, the trade volume between China and Russia was more than $176 billion, a year-on-year increase of 29.5 percent. Of this figure, China's exports to Russia came to over $81 billion, an increase of 56.9 percent; China's imports from Russia exceeded $94 billion, an increase of 12.7 percent.

Russia's Sputnik news agency reported that Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov disclosed on Sunday that Putin and President Xi will find time for a private conversation on the sidelines of the forum, which "will pay much attention to the world situation."

Peskov said this is "because both Russia and China play a very significant role in international affairs, and this role is growing… We are united by many integration processes, many associations, which are becoming increasingly attractive to the world community. These associations include countries that already represent the majority of the world's GDP and the majority of the world's population," the spokesman said.

Cui believes that during the talks, Putin will also present and confirm the fruitful outcomes from the two leaders' agreements reached during Xi's visit to Russia in March, especially in the domain of interconnectivity. 

Moscow and Beijing are not seeking to establish a military or political alliance, in contrast to what Western countries tend to practice, Putin said in an interview with Rossiya 1 Television, TASS reported on Sunday. 

Putin's latest remarks came shortly after a bipartisan panel appointed by the US congress suggested that the US should prepare for a war against Russia and China by expanding its conventional forces, strengthening alliances and enhancing its nuclear weapons modernization program.

Citing a senior official involved in the report released by the Strategic Posture Commission, Reuters said the panel members are worried about "ultimate coordination" between China and Russia, which will throw the US into a two-war construct.

Such suggestions showed the US to be the major threat to global strategic stability, while China and Russia are the cornerstone of the global stability and relations between powers, Li Haidong, a professor at the China Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times on Sunday. 

China-Russia strategic coordination has transcended the bilateral concept and has become increasingly vital in safeguarding the international order, fairness, justice and stability. China and Russia also share unique duties in multilateral, regional frameworks including BRICS and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, Wang Yiwei, director of the Institute of International Affairs at the Renmin University of China, told the Global Times on Sunday. 

By sowing discord and creating conflicts, the US is trying to manipulate its allies in pursuit of its own maximum interests and secure its hegemony. However, this kind of Cold War mentality is already obsolete, Wang noted.