Putin welcomes China’s Xi at Kremlin

Moscow, Mar 20 (EFE).- Russian president Vladimir Putin began talks with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, who arrived Monday in Moscow for his first visit since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began more than a year ago.

“We have a lot of common goals, tasks,” the Russian leader said.

“I know that you personally, all our Chinese friends pay much attention to the development of Sino-Russian relations,” he told Xi after congratulating him on his re-election for an unprecedented third term.

Putin also believed that Beijing always takes a “balanced” position on the most pressing international issues, adding that Russia is ready to discuss China’s proposed peace place to end the war in Ukraine.

“We’ve carefully studied your proposals to resolve the acute crisis in Ukraine,” he continued.

Xi, meanwhile, expressed “pleasure” to visit Russia at the invitation of Putin.

“On behalf of the Chinese government and people, I wish to extend warm greetings and best wishes to the Russian government and people,” he added. “China and Russia are friendly neighbors and reliable partners connected by shared mountains and rivers,” Xi stressed.

“Ten years ago, I paid my first state visit to Russia as Chinese President, and together with President Putin, opened a new chapter in the all-round development of China-Russia relations,” he went on.

A grand welcoming ceremony was held upon Xi’s arrival for his three-day trip.

It is Xi’s ninth trip to Russia and the first since he won an unprecedented third term this month as the Chinese president.

The two sides will launch formal negotiations on Tuesday, during which they will sign bilateral agreements.

The West fears that these negotiations will serve Russia not only to strengthen its ties with China as an alternative market but also to circumvent sanctions.

The visit comes amid reports of a Chinese drone spotted on the battlefield in Ukraine and a possible supply of Chinese weapons to Russia, the American newspaper Politico said.

The Chinese president has emerged as Russia’s most powerful ally at a time when Putin is isolated globally after the military campaign in Ukraine.

Last week, the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant against Putin.

China’s foreign ministry Monday reacted sharply to the ICC warrant and called on the global court to “respect the jurisdictional immunity” of a head of state.

The ICC should “avoid politicization and double standards,” the Chinese foreign ministry said.

With Xi’s visit, the Kremlin will send a message to the West that the two countries, through their friendship, make a common front against what the Chinese president called the “damaging acts of hegemony, domination, and bullying, and long and tortuous global economic recovery.”

The Chinese president’s visit also indicates that Xi will not let Putin down, who needs China in the face of Western sanctions.

China-Russia trade exceeded $190 billion last year, up by 116 percent from a decade ago.

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