In what will be seen as a show of support by Beijing’s support, Chinese President Xi Jinping is all set to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
This will also be the first international visit for Jinping, since he won a third term as president.
China’s Foreign Ministry said the visit will take place from Monday to Wednesday at the invitation of Putin.
‘China’s proposition boils down to one sentence, which is to urge peace and promote talks,” foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said, as the Ukraine conflict is expected to be among the main subjects of talks.
Russia said that the two leaders will discuss ‘topical issues of further development of comprehensive partnership relations and strategic cooperation between Russia and China.’
‘An exchange of views is also planned in the context of deepening Russian-Chinese cooperation in the international arena,’ the Kremlin added.
China is positioning itself as the new peace broker on Ukraine, calling for a political settlement to the conflict.
On Thursday, China’s new Foreign Minister Qin Gang spoke to his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleb to discuss potential peace talks.
The West is wary of China’s role expectedly, as it views China’s growing ties with Russia with caution.
Jinping has spoken to Putin multiple times since the conflict, but has yet to talk to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Putin had also visited Beijing for the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics, when Russia and China had declared a ‘no-limits’ friendship.
China not only has been non-committal as far condemnation of the conflict is concerned, but its frequent military exercises and talks with Russia are raising concerns in the West that it may assist Russia militarily, a charge Beijing has opposed.
Putin and Xi last held a virtual meeting in December, where the Russian leader described relations between the two nations as ‘the best in history’.
Political pundits view a shared vision for the world and a history of suspicion with respect to the US, along with China’s rising challenge to America’s superpower status as the basis for strong Russia-China ties.
With Jinping describing Putin as a ‘best friend’ on a personal level, this might be a strategic partnership that may just be at the forefront of a new world order.
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