Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday lent his country's strong endorsement to China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) at the opening of the third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation (BRF), calling for expanded cooperation across the vast Eurasian landmass, Reuters reports.
Noting that the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative dovetails with Russia's idea of forming a larger Eurasia, Putin said Russia and China are eager for mutually beneficial cooperation to achieve long-term economic development.
The current forum is taking place at a time marking the 10th anniversary of the Belt and Road Initiative put forward by Mr. Xi Jinping. The initiative is a truly important, global and future-oriented initiative aimed at creating a more equitable multipolar world and [system of] relations. This is truly a global plan, said the Russian president.
"I agree with the Chinese president that the BRI fits into multilateral efforts to strengthen creative and constructive interaction throughout the global community. We have repeatedly noted that 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 civilizational diversity and the right of each country's own development model," said Putin.
The Belt and Road Initiative, built on such basic principles, fits well with the integration processes developing in various regions. It is also consonant with Russian ideas to create an integration circuit where freedom of trade, investment and labor would be fully ensured and an interconnected infrastructure would be established. It is also consonant with Russia's well-known proposal to form a large Eurasian partnership as a space of cooperation and interaction of like-minded people, where a variety of integration processes will be linked such as the Belt and Road Initiative, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the Eurasian Economic Union, Putin said.
Putin said Russia is working with international partners to expand logistics and trade routes, including developing the North-South transport corridor across European Russia, the new Trans-Siberian Railway running north to south, the Arctic Railway, and the Northern Sea Route across the Arctic Ocean.
He said that Russia has invited relevant countries to help develop the Northern Sea Route, which will soon be navigable year-round.
"Taking this into account, Russia, which will preside over the enlarged BRICS next year, has put forward the initiative to establish within the framework of BRICS a permanent commission on transport logistics, which, with the participation of BRICS members, our partner countries and other interested states, could deal with the development of international transport corridors in its entire complex," said Putin.
Putin said that these topics will be further discussed during the Transport Week held in Moscow. He extended a warm invitation to the countries attending the third BRF forum to join the upcoming Transport Week to be held in mid-November in the Russian capital.
"I would like to express confidence that the Belt and Road Initiative and the Russian priorities just outlined as well as the constructive and most daring proposals of other countries, including those participating in the forum today, will allow us to find collective and truly effective solutions to the truly important and pressing regional and international problems," said the Russian President.
Representatives from more than 140 countries and 30-plus international organizations are gathering in the Chinese capital for the two-day event starting on Tuesday.