Brian Spegele and Wenxin Fan of The Wall Street Journal, write that Xi and Putin are doubling down on the path to a new world order. They write:
With one war raging in Ukraine and another unfolding in the Middle East, Chinese leader Xi Jinping is promoting his signature foreign-policy project as a force for unity, cooperation and prosperity around the globe.
At a summit convened to celebrate the Belt and Road Initiative, a crucial building block in China’s rivalry with the West, the picture looked more fractured.
The prominence given to Russian President Vladimir Putin at the summit, and the near absence of Western representation among the roughly two-dozen world leaders who attended, underlined how geopolitical divisions have deepened since Xi first proposed Belt and Road a decade ago.
Fissures that worsened with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine are becoming even more stark as the Mideast crisis unfolds. The war between Israel and Hamas has stretched American and European resources while relieving pressure on Russia and prompting China to align itself more closely with the Palestinian cause. […]
And while the Belt and Road Initiative was once focused on China helping to finance and build large-scale infrastructure, it now appears to be shifting toward smaller, more commercially-oriented projects, as well as giving priority to clean development and bolstering digital connectivity among its members, analysts who follow the initiative say.
But the change doesn’t mean the initiative is going away. Instead, Xi announced plans to create a secretariat for the forum, a move that would institutionalize the initiative going forward, said Rick Waters, the managing director for China at the political risk consulting firm Eurasia Group.
“So long as Xi is around, this project is here to stay,” Waters said.
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