The year 2022 ended with a Zoom call to end all Zoom calls: Presidents Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping discussing all aspects of the Russia-China strategic partnership in an exclusive video call.
Putin told Xi how "Russia and China managed to ensure record high growth rates of mutual trade," meaning "we will be able to reach our target of $200 billion by 2024 ahead of schedule."
On their coordination to "form a just world order based on international law," Putin emphasized how "we share the same views on the causes, course, and logic of the ongoing transformation of the global geopolitical landscape."
Facing "unprecedented pressure and provocations from the west," Putin noted how Russia-China are not only defending their own interests "but also all those who stand for a truly democratic world order and the right of countries to freely determine their own destiny."
Earlier, Xi had announced that Beijing will hold the 3rd Belt and Road Forum in 2023. This has been confirmed, off the record, by diplomatic sources. The forum was initially designed to be bi-annual, first held in 2017 and then 2019. 2021 didn't happen because of Covid-19.
The return of the forum signals not only a renewed drive but an extremely significant landmark as the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), launched in Astana and then Jakarta in 2013, will be celebrating its 10th anniversary.
BRI version 2.0
That set the tone for 2023 across the whole geopolitical and geoeconomic spectrum. In parallel to its geoconomic breadth and reach, BRI has been conceived as China's overarching foreign policy concept up to the mid-century. Now it's time to tweak things. BRI 2.0 projects, along its several connectivity corridors, are bound to be re-dimensioned to adapt to the post-Covid environment, the reverberations of the war in Ukraine, and a deeply debt-distressed world.