Putin touts Russia’s ties to China at multinational forum in Beijing

October 18, 2023

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday touted his country’s deep alignment with China as he stood alongside Chinese President Xi Jinping at a multinational forum in Beijing.

Putin’s remarks came in a speech marking the 10th anniversary of the Belt and Road Initiative, which aims to boost trade and infrastructure across the world with Chinese money and expertise.

In an apparent push back against calls for authoritarian leaders to promote human rights and political freedoms in their countries, Putin said that Russia and China share an “aspiration for equal and mutually beneficial cooperation,” which includes “respecting civilization diversity and the right of every state for their own development model.”

Leaders from Sri Lanka, Kenya, Indonesia, Hungary and Argentina were also among the forum’s two dozen attendees.

Xi lauded the initiative as having “established a new framework for international cooperation” over the past decade.

The forum was a rare trip for Putin outside his own country since the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague issued an arrest warrant for the Russian President back in March for war crimes related to the abduction of tens of thousands of Ukrainian children following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. 

It was also this past March when Xi Jinping traveled to Russia, and the two leaders declared an  enduring economic partnership. Putin and Xi have been seeking to insulate their nations against the West in the face of sweeping sanctions against Russia.

China officially took a neutral stance in the war early in 2022 ahead of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. However, China and Russia struck a “no limits” partnership while Russian President Vladimir Putin was visiting Beijing for the opening of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics in early February of that year, just weeks before the invasion of Ukraine.

PHOTO: Putin, Xi, other leaders at Belt and Road Forum in Beijing

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