Putin speaks at China’s infrastructure summit in Beijing

BEIJING: Russian President Vladimir Putin addressed international delegates at the Belt and Road forum in Beijing on Wednesday, saying that Russia and China shared the desire for “equal, mutually beneficial cooperation” in the world.

Beijing this week is hosting representatives of 130 countries for a forum on Chinese President Xi Jinping’s vast trade and infrastructure project, the Belt and Road Initiative.

At the top of the guest list is Putin, who is on his first trip to a major global power since Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine threw his regime into international isolation.

“Russia and China, like most countries in the world, share the desire for equal, mutually beneficial cooperation in order to achieve universal sustainable and long-term economic progress and social well-being, while respecting civilisational diversity and the right of each state to its own development model,“ Putin said Wednesday.

Xi and Putin met Tuesday evening at an event kicking off the forum, shaking hands and exchanging pleasantries.

They are due to hold in-depth talks on the sidelines of the forum on Wednesday, with the war raging between Israel and Palestinian militant organisation Hamas looming large over the summit. – AFP