China’s Xi Jinping to visit Russia’s Vladimir Putin as Beijing seeks bigger global role – National

Chinese President Xi Jinping is scheduled to visit Russia from Monday to Wednesday, demonstrating his support for Russian President Vladimir Putin amid heightened East-West tensions over the Ukraine war, and Beijing’s bold diplomacy. It is the latest sign of ambition.

Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine is expected to dominate the Putin-Xi Jinping debate. Despite declaring “unrestricted” friendship with Russia last year, China has refused to condemn Russian aggression and has sought to show its neutrality in the dispute.

China and Russia announced President Xi’s visit to Moscow on Friday. The visit is a diplomatic blow to Putin as Western leaders seek to isolate him over his 13th month of war.

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While denouncing Western sanctions and accusing NATO and the US of provoking Putin’s military actions, China’s refusal to accuse Russia has frustrated Washington, which competes with Beijing for influence.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Putin and President Xi Jinping will meet one-on-one at an informal dinner on Monday. A wide-ranging meeting involving officials from both countries is scheduled for Tuesday. Peskov did not provide details of the discussion.

During the war in Ukraine, China has said that the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries should be respected. However, it is unclear whether that position is intended to position China as a neutral peacemaker or to suggest that Beijing sympathizes with Moscow’s claims that it has seized Ukrainian territory. remains.

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China’s potential role in Ukraine war raises NATO concerns

On Thursday, Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang contacted Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba saying Beijing was concerned that the war was spiraling out of control, urging talks with Russia toward a political settlement.

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“China has always maintained an objective and fair stance on the Ukraine issue, is committed to promoting peace and making progress in negotiations, and has called on the international community to create conditions for peace negotiations,” Qin said.

Kureba later tweeted that he and Qin “discussed the importance of the principle of territorial integrity.” Ukraine has cited Russia’s withdrawal from occupied territories as a key condition for peace, while China has territorial integrity issues with Taiwan, which it claims is its own territory, and which it believes necessary. It claims that it will be placed under armed control according to

“I stressed the official importance of peace to end[Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s]aggression and restore just peace to Ukraine,” Kleba wrote, referring to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on the same day. I met with the chief.

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Beijing’s apparent deep dive into the Ukraine issue follows last week’s success in brokering talks between Iran and its arch-rival in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia. These two countries have agreed to restore diplomatic relations after years of tension.

The agreement puts China in a leading role in Middle East politics. This is a part that was previously reserved for longtime global heavyweights like the United States.

Against this background, President Xi called for China to play a greater role in managing the world situation.

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Washington has mobilized Western military and diplomatic efforts against Putin, but the Russian leader has shown no signs of softening his belligerent stance.

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The destruction of a U.S. drone in the Black Sea on Tuesday following an encounter with a Russian fighter jet further heightened tensions between the U.S. and Russia. The first conversation took place in

China last month called for a ceasefire in Ukraine and peace talks between Kiev and Moscow. Zelensky cautiously welcomed Beijing’s involvement, but his overture seemed to go no further.

Putin invited Xi to Russia in a video conference call between the two in late December. Putin said the visit could “show the whole world the strength of Russia-China relations” and could “be the major political event of the year in bilateral relations”.

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Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said on Friday that President Xi Jinping and President Putin had in-depth exchanges of views on bilateral relations, major international and regional issues of common concern, and strategic cooperation between the two countries. We will promote practical cooperation and give new impetus to the development of bilateral relations. ”

“Now, the world is entering a new era of upheaval and transformation as the changes of the century accelerate. goes far beyond the bilateral scope,” he added.

The Kremlin on Friday also announced Xi’s visit, saying it would take place “at the invitation of Vladimir Putin.”

The Kremlin said in a statement that Xi and Putin will discuss “the issue of further developing the comprehensive partnership and strategic interaction between Russia and China” and “in the context of deepening cooperation between Russia and China in the international arena.” “We will have an exchange of views,” he said.

The two leaders will also sign “important bilateral documents,” the statement read.

© 2023 The Canadian Press

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