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Putin Will Be ‘Highest Guest of Honor’ at the Belt and Road Summit

April 21, 2017 (EIRNS)—Zhang Dejiang, the Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National Peoples Congress of China, met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Kremlin on April 19, who welcomed him by saying that his visit would "reinforce the strategic partnership between our countries." Zhang responded that Putin will be "the highest guest of honor" at the upcoming May 14-15 International Cooperation Forum on the Belt and Road Initiative, to be held in Beijing May 14-15.

Zhang stated that the ties between the two countries had "reached a historical high point," and added:

"China looks forward to and welcomes your visit in May this year to attend the One Belt, One Road international cooperation forum. You will be the highest guest of honor there. You will meet with President Xi Jinping on the forum’s sidelines, and this has great significance for bolstering the friendship and cooperation between our countries and promoting bilateral cooperation in all areas, particularly in today’s situation."

Zhang’s visit to Moscow is part of a broader Chinese organizing drive for the Belt and Road summit, which yesterday included remarks by President Xi Jinping that the Belt and Road Initiative has been "widely recognized in international society since it was put forward, which shows that it accords with the will of the people." The spokesman for the Transport Ministry of China issued a statement emphasizing the large and growing scope of Belt and Road projects: more than 130 bilateral and regional transport agreements have already been signed; 356 international road routes have been opened; 4,200 direct flights connect China with 43 Belt and Road countries; and 39 China-Europe freight train routes are in operation.