Chinese leader Xi Jinping will visit Russian President Vladimir Putin next week in a sign of deepening ties between the two countries as Moscow finds itself increasingly isolated on the international stage. Beijing, eager to assert its status as a global superpower and reluctant to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, pretends to be a neutral peace broker.
- China’s foreign ministry said in a statement on Friday that Xi will pay a state visit to Moscow from Monday to Wednesday.
- The Kremlin said in its statement announcing the visit that this state visit is taking place “at the invitation of Vladimir Putin.”
- China’s statement did not provide many details about the trip, while the Kremlin provided some details on what to expect.
- The Kremlin said the two leaders would discuss developing the “comprehensive partnership and strategic cooperation” between Russia and China.
- Putin and Xi will also sign “a number of important bilateral documents” and discuss how the two countries’ deep ties will translate on the international stage, according to the Kremlin.
- Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told a press conference that it was a “peace visit” aimed at “improving global governance” and promoting global development, according to Agence France-Presse.
The state visit marks Xi Jinping’s first visit to Russia since Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine in February last year, although he has kept in touch with Putin and the two met for discussions about security in Uzbekistan last September. Beijing has not condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, despite strong international pressure to do so. It has even promoted its close relationship with Moscow and its desire to strengthen it further since then, which has drawn more criticism. Although its assertions of neutrality throughout the war have been questioned — it denies US allegations that it plans to provide military aid to Moscow — China is now presenting itself as a peace broker between Russia and Ukraine.
It is also Xi’s first overseas visit since winning an unprecedented third term as Chinese president. This achievement makes Mr. Xi, who also heads the Chinese Communist Party and the Chinese military, the most powerful Chinese leader since Mao Zedong. He has made clear his intention to raise China’s profile on the international stage, where he will have to manage rising tensions with the United States.
Xi Jinping, as part of his ambition to broker peace, is expected to meet Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. The date of this meeting is not yet known, but reports indicate that it should take place after the meeting with Mr. Putin.
Translated article from the American magazine Forbes – Author: Robert Hart
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