Next week, Chinese President Xi Jinping will travel to Russia, seemingly as a sign of support for Vladimir Putin.
China has long proclaimed a friendship with Russia that has no bounds and has refrained from denouncing Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, even as it calls for the respect of all nations’ sovereignty and territorial integrity.
The visit will occur “at Vladimir Putin’s invitation,” the Kremlin stated in a statement on Friday, March 17.
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, and Putin himself attended the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Beijing last year.
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’.
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’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.