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Putin accepts formal invitation from Xi to visit China next month

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Russian President Vladimir Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin has accepted a formal invitation by his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping to visit China in October during the Belt and Road Summit.

On Wednesday, the Russian leader announced his acceptance of Xi’s invitation during a meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who arrived in Moscow for security talks two days earlier.

“I was certainly pleased to accept the Chinese president’s invitation to visit China in October as part of an event promoting the [Chinese] president’s idea of One Belt, One Road, which has turned into an international brand,” Putin said.

He also stressed that the event is fully in line with the interests of Russia and China, “as it harmonizes our ideas to create a vast Eurasian space. We are quite in sync.”

The One Belt, One Road Initiative, which aims to symbolically recreate the ancient Silk Road, is a global infrastructure development strategy adopted by China in 2013 to invest in more than 150 countries and international organizations.

It is a huge program in which Beijing has been expanding its influence in developing regions through infrastructure projects.

Wang, who simultaneously holds the ruling Communist Party’s top foreign policy post, went to Moscow after concluding his security talks with US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan over the weekend in Malta.

Washington and Beijing are at odds, among other issues, over Russia’s war in Ukraine that began in February last year.

China still holds a neutral position and refrains from taking sides in the war, arguing that while a country’s territory must be respected, the West also needs to consider Russia’s security concerns about NATO expansion.

Beijing has also accused Washington of prolonging the fighting through supplying arms to Kiev, weaponry the White House claims is needed to defend against Russia.

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