President Xi will visit Putin on Monday in China’s biggest show of support for Russia since the war in Ukraine began
- The talks will focus on their ‘deepening’ relationship and ‘strategic co-operation’
- The two leaders will also sign ‘important bilateral documents’, China said
China’s President Xi Jinping is set to visit Russia next week in an apparent show of support for Vladimir Putin.
No other details were given but China has declared a ‘no-limits’ friendship with Russia and refused to condemn Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine – while declaring the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries be respected.
The Kremlin on Friday also announced the visit, saying it will take place ‘at the invitation of Vladimir Putin’.
The talks will take place from Monday to Wednesday and focus on the two regime’s ‘deepening’ relationship and ‘strategic co-operation’.
Xi last visited Russia in 2019, though Putin attended the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Beijing last year and the two leaders also met at a regional security gathering in Uzbekistan in September.
China’s President Xi Jinping is set to visit Vladimir Putin in Russia next week. The two leaders met in Beijing in February last year
The Kremlin on Friday also announced the visit, saying it will take place ‘at the invitation of Vladimir Putin’. Both men are pictured together at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, September 16, 2022
Xi and Putin will discuss ‘issues of further development of comprehensive partnership and strategic interaction between Russia and China’, as well as exchange views ‘in the context of deepening Russian-Chinese co-operation in the international arena’, the Kremlin said in a statement.
The two leaders will also sign ‘important bilateral documents’, the statement read.
Beijing has also condemned western sanctions and accused Nato and the United States of provoking Russia.
Putin invited Xi to visit Russia during a video conference call the two held in late December.
The visit, Putin said, could ‘demonstrate to the whole world the strength of the Russian-Chinese ties’ and ‘become the main political event of the year in bilateral relations’.
China has previously attempted to portray itself as a neutral party in the conflict, but this position has been viewed as lacking credibility and providing tacit support for Moscow.
In a 12-point position paper on the war published last month, China called for dialogue and respect for all countries’ territorial sovereignty.
China and Russia are also strategic allies, with both sides frequently touting what they call a ‘no limits’ partnership.
Beijing has condemned western sanctions and accused Nato and the United States of provoking Russia. Pictured: Ukrainian servicemen on a 2S7 Pion tank in Bachmut, Donbas, March 15
China’s foreign minister on Thursday urged Kyiv and Moscow to restart peace talks ‘as soon as possible’. Pictured: Ukrainian soldiers take cover as they fire a mortar shell at a frontline position near Bakhmut on Thursday
Beijing’s foreign ministry did not confirm whether Xi also planned to hold a rumoured call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky when asked at a routine press conference on Friday.
China’s foreign minister on Thursday urged Kyiv and Moscow to restart peace talks ‘as soon as possible’, while Kyiv said the call also raised the importance of Ukraine’s territorial integrity.
In the rare phone conversation with his Ukrainian counterpart, China’s foreign minister said Beijing was concerned about the year-old grinding conflict with Russia spinning out of control.
Beijing ‘hopes that all parties will keep calm, exercise restraint, resume peace talks as soon as possible and return to the track of political settlement’, Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang told the Ukrainian foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba.
Qin told Kuleba China has ‘always upheld an objective and fair stance on the Ukraine issue, has committed itself to promoting peace and advancing negotiations and calls on the international community to create conditions for peace talks’, China’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement posted on its website.
Kuleba later tweeted that he and Qin ‘discussed the significance of the principle of territorial integrity’.
‘I underscored the importance of [Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s] Peace Formula for ending the aggression and restoring just peace in Ukraine,’ wrote Kuleba, who spoke the same day with US secretary of state Antony Blinken.
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