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Putin speaks at Beijing summit, holds talks with Xi

by Elsa Court and The Kyiv Independent news desk October 18, 2023 9:56 AM 2 min read
Russia's President Vladimir Putin and China's President Xi Jinping at the third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing on Oct. 18, 2023. (Photo by Grigory Sysoyev / POOL / AFP)
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Russian dictator Vladimir Putin spoke at China's Belt and Road Forum in Beijing on Oct. 18, as the second speaker after Chinese President Xi Jinping gave his address.  

Putin praised the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), China's global infrastructure project that aims to connect trade and investment along what was once Silk Road routes.

The summit marks 10 years since the BRI was established. In his opening speech, Xi framed the initiative as an alternative economic model to those established by Western countries.

The BRI is in line with Russian ideas to create a Eurasian partnership, Putin said.

He claimed that Russia, like China and other countries in the world, wants "equal, mutually beneficial cooperation in order to achieve universal sustainable and long-term economic progress."

However, every country has the right to its "own developmental model," he said.

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After addressing the summit, the two leaders then held a bilateral meeting. Putin told Xi that "close political coordination is necessary in current difficult times."

Putin is expected to give a press conference later on Oct. 18.  

Putin's presence at the summit marks his second trip abroad since the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued a warrant for his arrest over his role in the illegal deportation of Ukrainian children in March 2023.

China has yet to address the ICC's arrest warrant for Putin.

His last visit to China was in February 2022, three weeks before he launched the full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

While China has officially positioned itself as a neutral party in the war and called for a diplomatic solution, Beijing has not denounced the Kremlin's aggression and has continued to develop close mutual ties.

Economic support from China is crucial for Moscow's funding of its war, as the Russian economy has been isolated by Western sanctions.

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