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14 May, 2024 07:25

Putin to visit China this week – Kremlin

The trip will focus on fostering strategic partnership, with a number of agreements expected to be signed
Putin to visit China this week – Kremlin

Russian President Vladimir Putin will travel to China later this week to meet his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, the Kremlin has announced. It will be the Russian leader’s first foreign trip of his new presidential term.

In a statement on Tuesday, the Kremlin said that the state visit at the invitation of the Chinese leader is scheduled for May 16 and 17. During the summit, the two leaders “will discuss in detail the entire range of issues of comprehensive partnership and strategic interaction” between Moscow and Beijing, as well as determine key directions for the further development of Russian-Chinese ties.

Putin and Xi will also discuss the “most pressing international and regional issues,” the Kremlin added. The leaders are expected to sign a joint statement and a number of bilateral documents, the announcement said, without giving further details.

The Russian leader will also hold talks with Chinese Premier Li Qiang, the second-highest ranking official in the country. The meeting will focus on bilateral trade, economic and humanitarian cooperation.

In addition, Putin and Xi will attend a gala marking the 75th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Moscow and Beijing, as well as the opening of the Russian-Chinese Years of Culture.

The Russian president will also visit the city of Harbin in northeast China, which was founded by Russian settlers in the late 19th century. There, he will take part in the opening ceremony of the Russian-Chinese EXPO, which will be held from May 17 to 21. Putin will also oversee the opening of the Russian-Chinese Forum on Interregional Cooperation, and meet with students and professors of Harbin Institute of Technology.

Russia and China have maintained close ties for several decades, declaring in early February 2022 that “friendship between the two states has no limits, there are no ‘forbidden’ areas of cooperation.” Against this backdrop, Beijing has not denounced Moscow’s military campaign against Kiev, nor joined unprecedented Western sanctions over the conflict.

At the same time, China has floated a plan to settle the Ukraine conflict, calling for a ceasefire, “respecting the sovereignty of all countries” and “abandoning the Cold War mentality.” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov praised the initiative, noting that it is the most “clear” and detailed plan of its kind.

In March 2023, Chinese leader Xi Jinping paid a landmark visit to Moscow, with the two sides signing a package of documents on economic cooperation. In October of that year, Putin traveled to the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing where he held one-on-one talks with Xi, discussing a number of “sensitive issues.”