Chinese President Xi Jinping will visit Russia from Monday to Wednesday in an apparent show of support for Vladimir Putin over the conflict in Ukraine.
The meeting between the leaders was announced by both countries on Friday. The Kremlin said it will take place ‘at the invitation of Vladimir Putin’.
China has long declared a ‘no-limits’ friendship with Russia and refused to condemn Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine – while accusing NATO and the United States of provoking Russia into military action.
The talks will take place from Monday to Wednesday and focus on the two regime’s ‘deepening’ relationship and ‘strategic co-operation’. However, Russia-Ukraine invasion is expected to dominate discussions.
Xi last visited Russia in 2019, and Putin himself attended the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Beijing last year.
The two leaders will sign ‘important bilateral documents’, the Kremlin statement read.
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.
China has ‘always upheld an objective and fair stance on the Ukraine issue, has committed itself to promoting peace and advancing negotiations and calls on the international community to create conditions for peace talks,’ Chinese Foreign Minister Qin told his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba yesterday.
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.
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.