Xi, Putin to discuss links among region’s initiatives

Ren Qi China Daily/ANN

BEIJING (China Daily/ANN) - President Xi Jinping will meet with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Sunday, and they will discuss coordination between the Belt and Road Initiative and Eurasian Economic Union, said Andrey Denisov, Russia’s ambassador to China.

The Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation will be held in Beijing on Sunday and Monday, and 29 heads of state are participating.

“The schedule for Putin’s visit involves extensive talks with Xi and a series of activities, such as a news conference and signing of agreements,” Denisov said.

When Xi and Putin met in May 2015, they started work on a consensus to connect the Belt and Road with Russia’s concept of a grand Eurasian passage connecting the region’s countries and the development of the Eurasian Economic Union, Denisov said.

“The leaders will continue to talk about ways to integrate Eurasian countries and coordination between the two initiatives, as well as the cooperation under the framework of such coordination.”

In April, when Putin met at the Kremlin with Li Zhanshu, director of the General Office of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, he said Russia will respond more actively to the Belt and Road Initiative. He also said he was looking forward to meeting with Xi and participating in the initiative’s forum in Beijing.

“The meet will be the first one between the leaders in 2017,” Denisov said, “and they will have further communication next month during the summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation in Kazakhstan.”

Xi and Putin will talk about multiple ways in which the two countries can cooperate, as well as international issues, but he wouldn’t say which specific issues are on their agenda.

Other senior Russian government officials are also participating in the Belt and Road forum, including Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

“Many top executives from Russian companies are coming as well,” Denisov said. “Some of them arrived in Beijing a few days ago, and have already started to talk with their (Chinese) partners, so maybe new agreements will be reached by these companies before the two presidents meet.”

Tian Chunsheng, an expert on Russian affairs at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said China and Russia have been enhancing economic ties for years, and now those ties are quite well established.

Vladimir Petrovsky, of the Russian Academy of Sciences, said there is still great potential for the growth of Sino-Russian cooperation. Petrovsky is chief of research on China-Russian relations at the academy’s Institute of Far Eastern Studies.

“Regional and border cooperation, for instance, are playing a more important role in Sino-Russian ties, and the two states need to continue to explore the potential of tourism, business and trade in the border areas.”