Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin pose for a photo on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit on September 15, 2022 in Samarkand, Uzbekistan. Photo / AP
Chinese President Xi Jinping will visit Russia from Monday to Wednesday in an apparent show of support for Russian President Vladimir Putin amid intensifying East-West tensions over the conflict in Ukraine.
Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine is expected to dominate the discussions. China has sought to present itself as neutral in the conflict, while in 2022 Beijing declared that it has “no borders” friendship with Russia and refused to condemn Moscow’s aggression.
The meeting between the leaders was announced on Friday from both the countries.
Condemning Western sanctions and accusing NATO and the United States of inciting Russia to take military action, China has said that the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries should be respected.
On Thursday, Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang told his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba that Beijing was concerned about the years-old conflict spiraling out of control and urged talks with Moscow on a political solution.
Qin said China “has always maintained an objective and fair stance on the Ukraine issue, committed itself to promoting peace and dialogue, and called on the international community to create conditions for peace talks”. “
Kuleba later tweeted that he and Qin “discussed the importance of the principle of territorial integrity”.
“I underlined the importance of [Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s]peace formula for ending aggression and restoring peace in Ukraine,” wrote Kuleba, who spoke with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken the same day.
Foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told a daily briefing on Friday that Xi would “in-depth exchange views with President Putin on bilateral relations and major international and regional issues of common concern, promoting strategic cooperation.” operational and practical cooperation between the two countries, and provide new impetus to the development of bilateral relations.
“At present, the world is entering a new period of turbulence and reform with the accelerated development of the century’s changes. As permanent members of the UN Security Council and important key countries, the importance and influence of China-Russia relations on bilateral goes far beyond the field,” he said.
The visit comes after an encounter with Russian fighter jets following the destruction of a US drone over the Black Sea brought the two countries closest to direct conflict since Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine a year ago.
The Kremlin also announced Xi’s visit on Friday, saying it would take place “at the invitation of Vladimir Putin”.
In a statement, the Kremlin said, Xi and Putin will discuss “issues of further development of comprehensive partnership and strategic interaction between Russia and China”, as well as ideas “in the context of deepening Russian-Chinese cooperation in the international arena”. Will exchange. statement.
The statement said the two leaders would also sign “important bilateral documents”.
Putin invited Xi to visit Russia during a video conference call held in late December. Putin said the visit could “demonstrate to the whole world the strength of Russian-Chinese relations” and “become the main political event of the year in bilateral relations”.