In a rare international appearance since the war in Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin addressed a live audience at the third Belt and Road forum in Beijing Wednesday.
In the opening ceremony speech, Putin invited other countries to participate in the development of the Northern Sea Route. The meeting marks the 10th anniversary of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) summit.
Speaking to 1,000 delegates represented by over 130 countries, Putin said he agreed with Chinese President Xi Jinping that the Belt and Road idea “folds logically within multilateral efforts” to increase global cooperation.
“In the European part of Russia, we form an international north-south corridor … It connects Russian ports in the Baltic and Arctic with the ports on the coast of the Persian Gulf and the Indian Ocean along the entire route from our northern city.”
The Northern Sea Route is a 3,480 mile-long shipping route between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans which runs from the entrances of Novaya Zemiya straits in the west along the Russian Arctic Coast above Siberia.
“Russia is the biggest country in the world,” Putin said. “That is why the connectivity of all the partners is relevant for the relations between the partners.”
Russia has a total area of 17,098,242 km², the largest in the world.
The successful development of the NSR “would potentially make Russia critical to global trade and communications between Asia and Europe,” according to an analysis by Foreign Policy.
Putin met Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on Wednesday in Beijing in efforts to strengthen their “no-limits” partnership, against the backdrop of an escalating Middle East conflict and the ongoing Ukraine war.
This is a developing story. Please check back for more.