Putin expects China’s Xi to visit Moscow, Xi holds his ground on Ukraine


Moscow: Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday said he was expecting his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping to make a state visit early next year in what would be a public show of solidarity from Beijing as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine falters.

But an official Chinese readout of a video summit between the two world leaders however, highlighted differences in approach to their developing alliance, one that makes no mention of a visit and stresses that Beijing, which has declined to back or condemn the invasion, would maintain its “objective and fair” stand on the invasion of Ukraine.

Since sending thousands of troops into Ukraine in February, Russia has turned its back on the Western powers that have sanctioned it economically and politically and armed Ukraine, courting the rising global power of long-time rival China instead.

“We are expecting you, dear Mr Chairman, dear friend, we are expecting you next spring on a state visit to Moscow,” Putin told Xi in an effusive eight-minute introductory statement broadcast on state television.

“This will demonstrate to the whole world the strength of Russian-Chinese ties on key issues.”

He also said he aimed to boost military cooperation with China – although there was no mention of this in the Chinese state broadcaster CCTV’s report of the call.

Although Xi called Putin his “dear friend”, his introductory statement, at around a quarter the length of Putin’s, was far more pragmatic in tone.

The two men had signed a “no limits” strategic partnership in February, informed by shared distrust of the West, a few days before Russia sent its armed forces into Ukraine in what it terms a “special military operation”.

Since major Western economies responded to Russia’s invasion with an unprecedented, barrage of sanctions, Russia has been forced to seek other markets, and has overtaken Saudi Arabia as the top crude supplier to China. Bilateral trade has soared and financial ties have been expanded.

Moscow has also publicly backed Xi’s position on Taiwan and accused the West of trying to provoke a conflict over the status of the self-governing island, which China claims as its own.

However, the Chinese leader has been less vocal in his criticism of Western countries that are China’s key export market, and has appeared cool on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

China has refrained from condemnation, instead stressing the need for peace, but Putin in September publicly acknowledged that his Chinese counterpart had “concerns” about Russia’s actions.

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Putin expects China’s Xi to visit Moscow, Xi holds his ground on Ukraine
Putin expects China’s Xi to visit Moscow, Xi holds his ground on Ukraine
ASE News
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