Xi visits Putin amid Beijing’s greater global influence 2023

Chinese President Xi Jinping is to visit Russia from Monday to Wednesday, ostensibly as a show of support for Russian President Vladimir Putin in the midst of rising East-West tensions over the war in Ukraine and as the latest indication of Beijing’s heightened diplomatic aspirations.

The continuing Russian invasion of Ukraine is anticipated to dominate Putin and Xi’s conversation. China has declined to denounce Moscow’s actions and has attempted to portray itself as impartial in the war, despite Beijing’s declaration of a “unrestricted” relationship with Russia last year.

Friday, both China and Russia confirmed Xi’s visit to Moscow. Putin will receive a diplomatic boost from the trip, as Western leaders have pushed to isolate him over the 13-month-old conflict.

China’s failure to denounce Russia, along with its denial of Western sanctions and accusation that NATO and the United States provoked Putin’s military action, has irritated Washington as it battles for influence with Beijing.

According to Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov, Putin and Xi will have a private dinner meeting on Monday. On Tuesday, officials from both countries will engage in broader discussions. Peskov refused to disclose specifics on the discussions.

During the conflict in Ukraine, China has stated that all nations’ sovereignty and territorial integrity must be maintained. It is unclear, however, if China’s attitude is meant to present it as a neutral mediator or signals Beijing sympathizes with Russia’s claims to occupied Ukrainian land.

Thursday, Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang reached out to his Ukrainian colleague Dmytro Kuleba, expressing Beijing’s alarm about the war’s escalation and advocating negotiations with Moscow on a political settlement.

China has “always maintained an objective and fair position on the Ukrainian problem, is dedicated to supporting peace and progressing discussions, and urges the international community to establish circumstances for peace talks.” “Qin stated.

Later, Kuleba tweeted that he and Qin “discussed the relevance of the territorial integrity concept.” China has its own territorial integrity difficulties with Taiwan, which it claims as its own territory to be brought under its authority by force if necessary.

“I emphasized the significance of (Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s) peace formula for halting aggression and restoring fair peace in Ukraine,” wrote Kuleba, who talked with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on the same day.

The apparent deepening of Beijing’s involvement in Ukraine issues follows its success in brokering negotiations between Iran and its biggest Middle Eastern opponent, Saudi Arabia, last week. After years of animosity, these two countries agreed to reestablish their diplomatic ties.

The accord propelled China to the forefront of Middle Eastern affairs, a position historically held by long-established global powers such as the United States.

In light of this, Xi demanded that China play a greater role in regulating world affairs.

Washington has mobilized Western military and diplomatic resources against Putin, but the Russian leader has shown no indications of moderating his aggressive position.

Tuesday’s destruction of a U.S. drone over the Black Sea as a result of an encounter with Russian fighter planes heightened tensions between the United States and Russia, but also spurred the first talks between the defense and military chiefs of the two nations since October.

China called for a ceasefire in Ukraine and peace negotiations between Kiev and Moscow last month. Zelenskyy warily welcomed Beijing’s participation, but the gesture looked to be without consequence.

Putin asked Xi to visit Russia during a late-December video conference chat between the two leaders. Putin stated that the visit might “show the world the strength of Russian-Chinese ties” and “become the most significant political event of the year in bilateral relations.”

Wang Wenbin, a spokesperson for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, stated on Friday that Xi will “engage in an in-depth exchange of views with President Putin on bilateral relations and major international and regional issues of mutual concern, promote strategic cooperation and practical cooperation between the two countries, and inject new impetus into the development of bilateral relations.”

“With the acceleration of the century’s transformations, the world is currently entering a new era of turmoil and reform. As permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and significant world powers, the significance and influence of China-Russia ties extend far beyond the bilateral sector,” he noted.

Friday, the Kremlin also confirmed Xi’s visit, stating that it will occur “at the request of President Putin.”

The Kremlin stated that Xi and Putin will address “problems of further development of comprehensive partnership and strategic engagement between Russia and China” and share views “in the framework of strengthening Russian-Chinese collaboration on the world stage.”

In addition, the two leaders will sign “important bilateral documents,” according to the statement.

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