Chinese President Xi Jinping will hold talks with Putin in Russia next week

Chinese President Xi Jinping will hold talks with Putin in Russia next week

Chinese President Xi Jinping will visit China next week in Russia to hold talks with Putin

This photo combination shows Russian President Vladimir Putin in Samarkand, Uzbekistan on September 16, 2022, and Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing on December 2, 2019.

Beijing/Moscow – Chinese President Xi Jinping will visit Russia early next week, the Chinese Foreign Ministry announced today. According to the Kremlin, he will sign a declaration with Russian President Vladimir Putin that will mark the beginning of a “new era” in Russian-Chinese relations. According to the AP agency, the visit will probably be a sign of Chinese support for Putin, who has been waging war against Ukraine for more than a year.

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“At the invitation of Russian President Vladimir Putin, President Xi Jinping will pay a state visit to Russia from March 20 to 22,” Chinese diplomacy said in a statement. According to Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wen-pin, the purpose of the visit is to deepen mutual trust. According to the speaker, the topic of the meeting will be major international and regional issues.

The two leaders will “sign a joint declaration on the deepening of relations and strategic cooperation”, which will usher in a new era in Russia-China relations, Putin's adviser Yuri Ushakov said, according to AFP.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that on March 20 in the afternoon, the leaders of both countries will meet in a one-on-one format over an informal lunch. A day later, the negotiations will begin, from which there will be press releases.

China says it is ready to broker talks between Moscow and Kiev, which have been at war since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022. The West is skeptical of Beijing's offer given the close relationship between China and Russia.

Contacts between senior Chinese and Ukrainian officials have been rare since the beginning of the conflict. According to The Wall Street Journal, however, Xi Jinping wants to talk with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in the near future, namely through a video conference. It would be their first conversation since the start of Russia's invasion of Ukraine last year.

On Thursday, Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Kang had a phone call with his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba. China's top diplomat has expressed concern that the war in Ukraine could “spin out of control” and called on Kiev and Moscow for calm, restraint and talks on a political solution to the conflict. Qin Kang also “appealed to the international community to create the conditions for peaceful negotiations,” China's foreign ministry said in a statement. Kuleba stated that they “also talked about the principle of preserving territorial unity” with China.

China is officially neutral in the Russian-Ukrainian conflict – Beijing refused to condemn the Russian invasion of Ukraine, but it did not even clearly support it. US officials have recently warned repeatedly that Beijing is considering providing Moscow with military aid, including weapons and ammunition.

On the anniversary of Russia's invasion of Ukraine on February 24, Beijing presented a twelve-point plan to end the war. Among other things, he urged both countries to refrain from attacks on the civilian population, called for the establishment of humanitarian corridors, but also for the end of Western sanctions against Russia. At the same time, he subscribed to the principle of “sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of all countries”.

Ukrainian President Zelenskyi said that Kyiv should cooperate with Beijing on the peace plan, and at the same time pointed out that he does not agree with some points.< /p>

Kremlin spokesman Peskov said about the Chinese plan that it needs to be analyzed in detail, but that the conditions for a peaceful resolution of the conflict have not yet been met.

According to Britain, Xi Jinping should use the road to Moscow to call on Putin to withdraw Russian troops from Ukraine. “If China wants to play a real role in restoring Ukraine's sovereignty, then of course we would welcome that,” Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's spokesman said. “We are clear that any peace deal that is not based on the sovereignty and self-determination of Ukraine is not a peace deal at all. So we will continue to call on China, as we have done before, to join other countries around the world in calling on Putin to withdraw his troops,” he added.