Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in Beijing (China) on Tuesday with an honor guard meeting his plane. His visit is also a show of support for Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s signature Belt and Road initiative to build infrastructure and expand China’s overseas influence.
In an interview to Chinese state media, Putin praised the massive but loosely linked BRI projects.
The Russian leader will be among the highest profile guests at a gathering marking the 10th anniversary of Xi’s announcement of the BRI policy, which has laden countries such as Zambia and Sri Lanka with heavy debt after they signed contracts with Chinese companies to build roads, airports and other public works they could not otherwise afford.
Asked by reporters Friday about his visit, Putin said it would encompass talks on Belt and Road-related projects, which he said Moscow wants to link with efforts by an economic alliance of ex-Soviet Union nations mostly located in Central Asia to “achieve common development goals.” He also downplayed the impact of China’s economic influence in a region that Russia has long considered its backyard and where it has worked to maintain political and military clout.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is expected to meet this week with Chinese leaders in Beijing on a visit that underscores China’s support for Moscow during its war in Ukraine.
The two countries have forged an informal alliance against the United States and other democratic nations that is now complicated by the Israel-Hamas war. China has sought to balance its ties with Israel with its economic relations with Iran and Syria, which are strongly backed by Russia.
Beijing and Moscow have financial ties in energy, high-tech and financial industries. China has also grown in importance as an export destination for Moscow.
Xi visited Moscow in March as part of a flurry of exchanges between the countries. China has condemned international sanctions imposed on Russia, but hasn’t directly addressed an arrest warrant issued for Putin by the International Criminal Court on charges of alleged involvement in the abductions of thousands of children from Ukraine.