Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (R) with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi during their meeting in Moscow, Russia, 5 April 2018. EFE-EPA FILE/ Maxim Shipenkov

Wang, Lavrov meet in Beijing ahead of Belt and Road Forum

Beijing, Oct 16 (EFE).- The foreign ministers of China and Russia met Monday in Beijing where the head of Russian diplomacy will attend the Third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation.

Sergey Lavrov arrived Monday in the Chinese capital, where he will stay until the 18th, according to the Russian foreign ministry last week. However, whether or not President Vladimir Putin will attend remains unknown.

Neither Moscow nor Beijing have officially confirmed whether Putin will attend the forum, which celebrates the 10th anniversary of China’s flagship multilateral program to strengthen its international influence through cooperation and infrastructure projects in other countries.

(FILE) Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) shakes hands with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi (R) as Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (C) attends during their meeting in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, 05 April 2018. EPA-EFE FILE/ALEXANDER ZEMLIANICHENKO / POOL

The attendance of several other leaders, however, has been confirmed, including that of Argentina, Alberto Fernández; Chile, Gabriel Boric; Kenya, William Ruto, and the Secretary General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres.

The Third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation will begin on Tuesday with a business meeting and a welcome banquet, and will have its high-level segment on Wednesday, when China’s ruler Xi Jinping will deliver a keynote speech.

Putin has not yet traveled abroad this year. In March the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant against him for the forced transfer of children to Russia.

(FILE) Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (R) and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi (L) enter a hall for the talks in Sochi, Russia, 13 May 2019. EPA-EFE FILE/PAVEL GOLOVKIN / POOL

If he does not participate in the Chinese event, his first trip will be on Thursday to Kyrgyzstan, where he will meet his counterpart, Sadir Zhaparov, with whom he will also visit the Russian military base in Kant for the 20th anniversary of the Collective Security Treaty Organization.

On Sep. 20, the head of the Kremlin accepted China’s invitation to participate in the forum during a meeting with Wang in Russia.

Putin’s foreign policy advisor Yuri Ushakov also announced at the end of July that Putin was planning a trip to China in October.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov said at the beginning of the month that the agenda of Putin’s visit to the Asian neighbor would include the discussion of issues that are already clear and that “are quite voluminous,” such as bilateral trade, economic cooperation and the global and regional situations.

In February 2022, shortly before the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Putin and Xi affirmed in Beijing the “limitless friendship” between their nations. EFE