Apr 27, 2019

Russia and China bond at world leader forum

Illustration: Axios Visuals

In the face of U.S. hostility, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping today "vowed to work together for greater economic integration in Eurasia," the South China Morning Post reports.

What's new: Xi called for greater cooperation between the two countries in areas ranging from trade to aerospace, while meeting with Putin on the sidelines of a forum of world leaders on China's Belt and Road infrastructure (BRI) initiative.

  • Putin reportedly responded, saying Russia is willing to "work with China in energy, connectivity and other major projects."

The backdrop: Leaders from 37 countries and delegates from more than 150 countries started gathering in Beijing for the second forum on China's BRI, which is designed to link China, Asia and Europe.

  • The U.S. didn't send any high-level representatives.

But, but, but: Axios' Dave Lawler writes that while getting that many world leaders to turn up might seem like a triumph for Xi, he's also doing some damage control.

  • Jonathan Hillman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies writes for Axios Expert Voices that in the 2 years since the last forum, concerns have grown over corruption, debt sustainability, environmental impacts and local benefits in addition to worries about Beijing's true motives.
  • Dan Kliman, of the Center for New American Security, tells Dave that while Xi will attempt to "rebrand and reboot" Belt and Road this week, "this is a strategic geopolitical exercise, so they don't want to take steps that would reduce their control."

The bottom line: Chris Johnson, a former top CIA China analyst now at CSIS, says the message will be: "We have heard your feedback, taken it into account, and we're making changes. But guess what, the region still has a huge need for infrastructure and we're ready to provide it."

Go deeper:

  • Read Dave's full story here.
  • In Laos, a Chinese-funded railway sparks hope for growth — and fears of debt (NPR).
  • Beijing appeals for foreign funds in belt-and-road adjustment (WSJ).
  • Is China the world’s loan shark? (New York Times opinion).

Go deeper

World coronavirus updates: Confirmed cases top 1.2 million

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens and confirmed plus presumptive cases from the CDC

The number of novel coronavirus cases surpassed 1.2 million worldwide Saturday night, as Spain overtook Italy as the country with the most infections outside the U.S.

The big picture: About half the planet's population is now on lockdown and the global death toll was nearing 64,800, by Sunday morning, per Johns Hopkins data.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 14 mins ago - Health

U.S. coronavirus updates: Death toll surpasses 8,500

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Recorded deaths from the coronavirus surpassed 8,500 in the U.S. early Sunday, per Johns Hopkins data. The death toll in the U.S. has risen over 1,000 every day for the past four days, since April 1.

The big picture: President Trump said Saturday America's is facing its "toughest week, between this week and next week." Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said the U.S. should expect to see deaths continue to rise in this period.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 42 mins ago - Health

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 2:30 a.m. ET: 1,203,485 — Total deaths: 64,784 — Total recoveries: 247,001Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 2:30 a.m. ET: 312,237 — Total deaths: 8,501 — Total recoveries: 14,997Map.
  3. Public health latest: CDC launches national trackers and recommends face coverings in public. Federal government will cover costs of COVID-19 treatment for uninsured. The virus is hitting poor, minority communities harder and upending childbirth.
  4. 2020 latest: "We have no contingency plan," Trump said on the 2020 Republican National Convention. "We're having the convention at the end of August."
  5. Business updates: Restaurants step up for health care workers. Employees are pressuring companies to provide protections during coronavirus.
  6. Oil latest: Monday meeting among oil-producing countries to discuss supply curbs is reportedly being delayed amid tensions between Saudi Arabia and Russia.
  7. Education update: Many college-age students won't get coronavirus relief checks.
  8. 1 🏀 thing: The WNBA postpones start of training camps and season.
  9. What should I do? Pets, moving and personal health. Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  10. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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