Russian President Vladimir Putin has confirmed that he will attend the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) forum in Beijing in October, according to a statement from the Kremlin on Wednesday.
The BRI is a massive infrastructure project launched by China in 2013, aiming to connect Asia, Europe, Africa and beyond through a network of roads, railways, ports and other projects. China has invested billions of dollars in the initiative, which has been met with both enthusiasm and skepticism by some countries.
Putin said he was happy to accept the invitation from Chinese President Xi Jinping, who is also his close ally and partner. He praised the BRI as a “very important and promising” initiative that would benefit both countries and the world.
“The BRI is not only about economic cooperation, but also about strengthening political trust, cultural exchanges and humanitarian ties between the participating countries,” Putin said.
He added that Russia and China had already implemented several joint projects under the BRI framework, such as the Power of Siberia gas pipeline, the Moscow-Kazan high-speed railway and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU).
Putin also expressed his hope that the forum would be a success and contribute to the recovery of the global economy after the COVID-19 pandemic.
The BRI forum, which was originally scheduled for April 2020, was postponed due to the outbreak of the coronavirus. It will be the second such event after the first one was held in 2017, attracting leaders from more than 30 countries.