Before Putin's speech in Beijing, several people walked out of the hall: who decided to make a demonstrative gesture and what agreements China and Russia can reach
Before Kremlin dictator Vladimir Putin's speech in Beijing, China, at the opening of the One Belt, One Road forum, several European officials demonstratively left the hall. Among them was former French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin.
According to Reuters, the Russian president spoke to the participants after Chinese leader Xi Jinping. Putin praised Beijing's "One Belt, One Road" initiative and said that the Northern Sea Route could deepen East-West trade and deserves investment.
The forum was attended by representatives of more than 130 countries, mostly from the Global South. The opening ceremony was held at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.
Xi Jinping, speaking to the audience, opposed Western attempts to reduce dependence on the Chinese economy. "Our life will not be better and our development will not be faster if we view the development of other countries as a threat and economic interdependence as a risk," the Chinese president said.
He also spoke out "against unilateral sanctions, economic coercion, division and disruption of supply chains."
Although the Belt and Road Initiative was originally intended to connect China with Western Europe, no high-ranking EU officials were present. The only head of state to attend from the bloc was Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban. Another notable participant was Nuruddin Azizi, the Minister of Commerce of the Afghan Taliban administration.
Putin and Xi Jinping are expected to hold in-depth talks on the sidelines of the forum on Wednesday, October 18.
Analysts believe that they will concern economic cooperation between the Russian Federation and the People's Republic of China. Recently, against the backdrop of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Moscow's economy has become more dependent on Beijing, experts said.
According to some reports, 63% of Russian industrial companies have switched to Chinese suppliers to maintain supplies of sanctioned goods, The Guardian reports.
"Both sides have dramatically increased their dependence since the beginning of the war (Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine - Ed.) China is now by far Russia's most important trading partner, supplying key civilian goods and even dual-use military goods that contribute to the Kremlin's war effort," said Joseph Webster, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council (USA).
We should add that Putin last visited the Chinese capital in 2022.
As OBOZ.UA previously reported:
- On the morning of October 17, Russian dictator Vladimir Putin arrived in China to participate in an economic forum and met with the country's leader Xi Jinping. This is the second foreign visit for the head of the terrorist state after he was declared wanted by the International Criminal Court.
- Prior to that, Russia publicly admitted that it receives imported drones from China.