The president of China will visit Russia to define a “strategic cooperation” between both powers

Russian President Vladimir Putin met with Wang Yi, a Chinese diplomatic official, in February.

Russian President Vladimir Putin met with Wang Yi, a Chinese diplomatic official, in February.


Moscow will host, during the next week, a series of talks and negotiations between Xi Jinping, Chinese president, and Vladimir Putin, Russian head of state. Both rulers, who preside over two of the strongest economic powers in the world, will talk about “strategic cooperation”, according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

It is the first time that both leaders have met directly since the war in Ukraine began in February 2022, a conflict in which China has remained neutral and has not condemned either Vladimir Putin’s invasion or the role of the West in supporting Zelensky. Russia, for its part, which has been isolated by the international community, has continued to strengthen ties with Beijing. Even Putin has been in charge of seeking allies on various continents to obtain military and economic support in his military offensive, such as Iran.

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According to what was reported by the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the meeting will focus on the “deepening of comprehensive collaboration and strategic cooperation” between Moscow and Beijing. In addition, the entity assured that the talks between the two heads of state will be framed by the signing of “important bilateral documents”, although it did not specify what they would be.

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On Monday there will be “a face-to-face conversation, an informal lunch. And March 21 will be a day of negotiations”, detailed the spokesman for the Russian presidency, Dmitri Peskov.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry said that Xi’s visit is a “peace visit” aimed at “practicing multilateralism (…) improving global governance and contributing to the development and progress of the world.”

“China will stress its fair and objective position on the Ukrainian crisis, and play a constructive role in promoting peace talks,” Wang Wenbin, spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

China has not condemned the invasion and has tried to present itself as a neutral player in the dispute. Her position has been criticized by Western leaders, who believe the Asian powerhouse is giving Moscow diplomatic cover.

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The United States even accused China of considering arms delivery to Russia, which Beijing strongly denied. The “Asian giant” insists that the close relations between his country and Moscow “do not threaten any” government in the world and that they “advance the multipolarization of the world”.

China, facilitator of peace?

In a 12-point document released last month on the Ukraine war, China called for dialogue and respect for the territorial integrity of all countries.

This Thursday, the Chinese Foreign Minister, Qin Gang, insisted in a telephone conversation with the head of Ukrainian diplomacy, Dmytro Kuleba, that Kiev and Moscow should start peace talks “as soon as possible.”

Kuleba said that in that conversation they addressed “the importance of the principle of territorial integrity”, but did not elaborate.

China and Russia have strengthened their collaboration in recent years at an economic, military and political level, within a relationship, they say, “without limits”.

Xi last visited Russia in 2019. Putin attended the opening of the Winter Olympics in Beijing last year, and the two leaders met in person at a regional security summit last September in Uzbekistan.

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This Friday, the Kremlin promised that the MiG-29 fighters that Poland and Slovakia will deliver to Ukraine will be “destroyed”, and denounced the “growing involvement” of NATO countries in the conflict with Kiev.

According to Ja-Ian Chong, an associate professor at the National University of Singapore, the extent of China’s peace efforts “will depend on the substance of what it proposes in meetings” with Putin and eventually with the Ukrainian leadership.

“His previous peace plan was more a set of general principles than an applicable proposal,” this Chinese foreign policy specialist told AFP.

Since the start of the conflict, the Chinese president has not had any meetings with his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodimir Zelensky.

According to the Wall Street Journal, there could be a conversation after Xi’s visit

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