China’s Xi Jinping to meet Putin in Russia

Beijing/Moscow, Mar 17 (EFE).- Chinese President Xi Jinping is set to travel to Russia next week for a three-day state visit that will include talks with president Vladimir Putin, the Kremlin announced Friday.

Xi’s state visit to Moscow will take place between March 20-22, his first trip to Russia since Putin’s full-blown invasion of Ukraine.

The two leaders will discuss “pressing issues related to the future of relations of comprehensive partnership and strategic interaction between Russia and China,” the statement said.

The Kremlin added that “a number of important bilateral documents will be signed” during the Chinese leader’s visit.

China’s foreign affairs spokesman Wang Wenbin told reporters that Xi’s trip would advance “friendship, cooperation and peace,” state news agency Xinhua quoted the official as saying.

Wang added that Beijing has always “believed that political dialogue is the only way out of the conflict.”

According to the Chinese official, the visit will boost “the strategic coordination and practical cooperation between the two countries will contribute to the growth of bilateral ties,” with a focus on the Silk Road infrastructure project and the Eurasian Economic Union.

Moscow and Beijing strengthened bilateral ties just days before the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Beijing has so far refused to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine while calling for the “respect for the territorial integrity of all countries,” including Ukraine.

Beijing’s foreign office recently issued a statement on what it called the “Ukraine crisis” where it called on all parties to respect “the sovereignty of all countries” and urged the international community to abandon “the Cold War mentality.”

“All parties must stay rational and exercise restraint, avoid fanning the flames and aggravating tensions, and prevent the crisis from deteriorating further or even spiraling out of control,” the statement added.

While Beijing has not explicitly backed Moscow it has consistently opposed sanctions arguing that these “don’t solve problems.”

At Putin and Xi’s last face-to-face meeting on the sidelines of a Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Uzbekistan in September 2022, the Russian president welcomed China’s “balanced position” on Ukraine, while also acknowledging the “questions and concerns” Beijing lodged. EFE


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