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Xi Jinping will visit Russia next week

Chinese President Xi Jinping is due to pay a state visit to Moscow next week for talks with his strategic ally Vladimir Putin, just over a year after Russia’s war in Ukraine began.

Xi will be in Russia from Monday to Wednesday, the Chinese Foreign Ministry and the Kremlin announced on Friday.

Recently re-anointed for a landmark third term, Xi last visited Russia in 2019.

Putin attended the opening ceremony of the Beijing Winter Olympics last year, and the two leaders also met at a regional security meeting in Uzbekistan in September.

Xi will “hold an in-depth exchange of views with President Putin on bilateral ties and major international and regional issues of common interest,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said on Friday.

The visit will “promote strategic coordination and practical cooperation between the two countries and give new impetus to the development of bilateral relations,” Wang said.

“Currently, changes not seen in a century are unfolding rapidly, and the world has entered a new period of turmoil,” he said.

“As … important major countries, the importance and impact of China-Russia relations goes far beyond the bilateral framework.”

Also on Friday, the Kremlin said the two presidents would discuss “strategic cooperation” and “discuss deepening the comprehensive partnership and strategic cooperation between Russia and China.”

She added that the signing of “important bilateral documents” is expected.

The visit comes just over a year after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which sparked a war that has isolated Moscow on the international stage.

China, a key Russian ally, has sought to position itself as a neutral party in the conflict, urging Moscow and Kyiv to resolve it through negotiations.

In a 12-point position paper on the war last month, China called for dialogue and respect for all countries’ territorial sovereignty.

But Western leaders have repeatedly criticized Beijing for not condemning the invasion and accused it of providing Moscow with a diplomatic cover for its war.

The United States has accused China of considering arms shipments to support Russia’s war – allegations Beijing has firmly denied.

China the Peacemaker?

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in February he plans to meet with Xi after Beijing called for talks.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry did not confirm on Friday whether he plans to do so.

However, the two nations’ foreign ministers held a phone call Thursday, the first since China’s Qin Gang took office.

Qin urged Kyiv and Moscow to resume peace talks “as soon as possible,” adding that “China is concerned that the crisis could escalate and spiral out of control,” according to an official ad.

His Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba said the call included a discussion on “the importance of the principle of territorial integrity,” without giving details.

China and Russia, former socialist allies with stormy ties, have in recent years deepened cooperation in the economic, military and political spheres in what they call a “borderless” partnership.

Both sides have frequently emphasized the close relationship between Putin and Xi, who began a third five-year term as president this month in a bid to break with longstanding precedent.

Xi, 69, also helped push a China-brokered deal to restore ties between Saudi Arabia and Iran last week.

“Whether (China) actually ramps up its efforts to play peacemaker in a meaningful way will depend on the substance of what it proposes at meetings with leaders from Ukraine and Russia,” said Ja-Ian Chong, an associate professor at the National University from Singapore.

“Their previous peace plan was more about general principles than actionable proposals,” the Chinese foreign policy expert told AFP.

Source: Crypto News Deutsch

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