The Belt and Road Initiative summit commenced in Beijing on October 17, marking the 10th-year forum organized by China. Representatives from all participating nations are present at the summit. Of particular interest is the bilateral meeting between China and Russia, which has garnered significant attention from the international community. Notably, this summit serves as Russian President Vladimir Putin’s first major diplomatic engagement since the commencement of the conflict with Ukraine in 2022.
The diplomatic relationship between Russia and China takes center stage, with both nations expressing their intent to fortify their economic ties and collaboration on various fronts during the event.
China has invited 130 countries. The guest list includes countries such as Ethiopia, Sri Lanka, Nigeria, Kenya, Egypt, and Laos among others.
The Taliban are anticipated to participate in the forum, even though they do not hold official state recognition. Their discussions are set to encompass the global positioning and advancement of the BRI with a focus on enhancing infrastructure and investment in the countries involved.
The recent conflict between Israel and Hamas will be a topic of discussion. China and Russia have expressed criticism of Israel’s actions in evicting and evacuating Palestinians. The situation in Ukraine, including Russia’s stance, will also be addressed.
This trip is significant for President Putin, as he had been diplomatically isolated from the West following the Ukraine conflict. While there has been international criticism of Putin, he enjoys support in Russia due to his efforts to limit NATO influence. Despite sanctions, China continues to buy oil from Russia, and both countries engage in trade, with Russia purchasing machinery, base metals, and aircraft from China. This mutually beneficial relationship is vital for both economies.
The official discussions are scheduled for Wednesday, and President Xi Jinping has organized a welcome feast for all international guests. Multiple conferences are anticipated in the coming weeks. Despite the criticisms, China and Russia have seen an increase in trade due to their cooperation and decision-making.