Xi to meet Putin in Russia next week

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Chinese leader Xi Jinping will travel to Moscow next week to meet President Vladimir Putin in his first visit to Russia since Putin launched his devastating invasion of Ukraine more than a year ago.

The visit will be seen as a powerful display of Beijing’s support for Moscow in Western capitals, where leaders are increasingly wary of the deepening partnership between the two nations as war rages in Europe.

It will also be Xi’s first overseas trip since securing an unprecedented third term as president at the annual meeting of China’s rubber stamp legislature last week.

The face-off was revealed on Friday by statements from Beijing and the Kremlin.

China’s Foreign Ministry said the visit will take place from Monday to Wednesday at Putin’s invitation and confirmed that the war in Ukraine would be at the heart of the talks.

“China’s proposal boils down to one sentence, which is to urge peace and promote talks,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said.

The Kremlin said the two leaders will discuss “topical issues of further development of comprehensive partnership relations and strategic cooperation between Russia and China.”

“An exchange of views is also planned within the framework of deepening Russian-Chinese cooperation in the international arena,” the Kremlin added. “A number of important bilateral documents will be signed.”

The Kremlin also released the schedule of planned meetings between Xi and Putin. The two leaders will start Monday with a tete-a-tete followed by an “informal lunch”, with negotiations due to take place on Tuesday, according to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

See the drones used by the Russian military that China sells on Alibaba

The visit comes as China attempts to portray itself as a neutral peace broker on Ukraine, including the recent release of a position paper calling for a political settlement of the crisis.

On Thursday, China’s new Foreign Minister Qin Gang spoke on the phone with his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba to call for peace talks. The two men discussed “the importance of the principle of territorial integrity”, Kuleba said on Twitter.

But the mediator’s claim has been met with skepticism by Western leaders, who point to China’s refusal to acknowledge the nature of the conflict and growing ties with Russia.

Xi has spoken to Putin several times since the invasion – both virtually and in person, but has not had a single phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Xi and Putin declared a “boundless” friendship in February last year when the Russian leader visited Beijing for the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics.

And under Xi, China has refused to condemn the Russian invasion — or even refer to it as such, instead blaming NATO for provoking the conflict while amplifying Kremlin disinformation.

He also provided diplomatic support to Moscow, as well as strengthened economic and military ties by boosting trade and organizing frequent joint military exercises.

In recent weeks, Western officials have begun to publicly raise concerns that China is planning to provide Russia with lethal military assistance, a charge Beijing denies.

Putin Xi Jinping vpx

Report obtained by CNN shows Russia receiving military support from China

Last month, Putin hosted top Chinese diplomat Wang Yi in Moscow days before the anniversary of the Kremlin’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

Putin told Wang that relations between his country and China were “reaching new stages”, while Wang pledged to “further strengthen our comprehensive strategic partnership”.

Putin and Xi held a final virtual meeting in December, during which the Russian leader described relations between the two nations as “the best in history”, saying they could “stand up to any test”.

Both leaders share a deep suspicion and hostility towards the United States, which they believe is determined to keep China and Russia down. They also share a vision of a new world order – one that better serves the interests of their nations and is no longer dominated by the West.

They have also forged a close personal bond, with Xi describing Putin as a “best friend” in 2019. Xi has met Putin in person 39 times since becoming China’s leader, most recently in September during a summit in Central Asia.


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