Russian President Vladimir Putin and a delegation from the Taliban, a terrorist group that seized back control of Afghanistan in August 2021, will be present in Beijing as both have participated in the two-day third Belt and Road Forum (BRF) to serve the purpose of international cooperation which China is hosting.
Vladimir Putin, the president skipped the BRICS summit held in South Africa which was conducted from 22 to 24 August 2023, and the G20 summit in New Delhi which was conducted from 9 to 10 September 2023.
He will be making his first visit outside the ex-Soviet Union countries since the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant against him on 17 March 2023 over the alleged unlawful deportation of Ukrainian children.
On 7 September 2013, President Xi Jinping of China proposed to build a ‘Silk Road Economic Belt’ with Central Asian Countries in a speech in Kazakhstan.
More than 150 countries have joined the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) over the years. The project foresees new trade routes connecting China with the rest of the world and includes the construction of railways, airports, and other infrastructure. The first forum was held in 2017 and the second in 2019, before Covid-19 which delayed the third forum.
After the third forum was delayed, it has been on the agenda since March 2023, when Qin Gang announced it as one of the two diplomatic events being planned for this year.
The international leaders who will be attending the BRF this year include Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, Cambodian PM Hun Manet, PM Anwaar ul Haq Kakar, President of Chile Gabriel Boric, President of Kenya William Ruto, Ethiopian PM Abiy Ahmed and President of Serbia Aleksandar Vucic, and others.
The Taliban at the forum highlights Beijing’s growing official ties with the administration, despite its lack of formal international recognition since it recaptured Kabul in 2021. Two weeks before capturing power in August 2021. The senior Taliban officials met with foreign minister Wang Yi in July 2021.
Also, BRF is an opportunity for China to collect leaders, including Putin to protect its international image as a pillar not beholden to Western powers or international law.
Belt and Road Forum: An Alternative to the Current Order
According to Jacob, the three separate initiatives by Xi, the Global Developmental Initiative (GDI), the Global Security Initiative (GSI), and the Global Civilisational Initiative (GCI) announced in the last three years have conveyed the goals of China with the BRI.
These three initiatives are concepts being promoted by Beijing as an alternative to the current Western-backed rules-based international order which has been in place since World War II.
However, there are certain moral complications which are created by China when it exports the BRI as China is projecting its cultural values to the world to show that democracy is not the only answer required for developing countries to grow as the current global regime suggests.