Something extraordinary began with a short walk in St. Petersburg last Friday.
After a stroll, they took a boat on the Neva River, visited the legendary Aurora cruiser, and dropped in to examine the Renaissance masterpieces at the Hermitage. Cool, calm, collected, all the while it felt like they were mapping the ins and outs of a new, emerging, multipolar world.
Chinese President Xi Jinping was the guest of honor of Russian President Vladimir Putin. It was Xi's eighth trip to Russia since 2013, when he announced the New Silk Roads, or Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
First they met in Moscow, signing multiple deals. The most important is a bombshell: a commitment to develop bilateral trade and cross-border payments using the ruble and the yuan, bypassing the U.S. dollar.