Putin: Belt and Road fits with Eurasian Economic Union goals

Putin: Belt and Road fits with Eurasian Economic Union goals
Russian President Vladimir Putin talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping, unseen, during the meeting in Beijing Friday, April 26, 2019. (Kenzaburo Fukuhara/Pool Photo via AP)

BEIJING (AP) — China’s Belt and Road infrastructure initiative meshes perfectly with the goals of the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Friday.

Putin’s comments to a Belt and Road forum in Beijing may help alleviate concerns over potential tensions between China and Russia, given Beijing’s rapidly expanding economic footprint in Central Asia, Moscow’s traditional sphere of influence.

Putin told some three-dozen leaders attending the conference that China’s moves “fit perfectly into our plans.”

The Eurasian Economic Union groups Russia with Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan in a common market that seeks to remove barriers to the free movement of goods, services, capital and labor.

The five member states “unanimously supported the idea of linking the construction of the Eurasian Economic Community” and the Belt and Road, Putin said.

Separately, Putin met Friday with Chinese President Xi Jinping. He visited Beijing just after wrapping up a summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Russia’s Far Eastern port city of Vladivostok.