Chinese President Xi Jinping has embarked on a “journey of friendship, cooperation and peace” to Moscow for a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, despite international criticism of China’s support for Russia’s war in Ukraine. Xi’s visit strengthens Putin, who has been isolated internationally and has received an arrest warrant from the International Criminal Court (ICC) for war crimes.
A “constructive role” in Ukraine
Xi has tried to present China as a neutral side in the Ukrainian conflict, with the foreign ministry stating that Beijing would “play a constructive role in advancing peace talks” between Kiev and Moscow.
Putin has welcomed China’s actions in Ukraine as a sign of his desire to play a “constructive role” in resolving the conflict, while also hailing Sino-Russian relations as “at an all-time high”.
China an old friend
Xi and Putin have maintained a close relationship in recent years, creating a “borderless” partnership that has served as a diplomatic bulwark against the West.
In an article published in the Russian media, Xi advocates a “new vision” of China-Russia relations, stressing the importance of dialogue and respect for the territorial sovereignty of all countries.
Western countries have criticized China for providing diplomatic cover for Moscow’s war in Ukraine, arguing that China’s proposals are based on grand principles but lack practical solutions.
The United States has accused China of preparing arms exports to Moscow, claims China has vehemently denied.
Xi and Putin will hold an “informal” one-on-one meeting and dinner on Tuesday ahead of the negotiations, in which they are expected to sign an agreement “on strengthening the comprehensive partnership (of the two countries) and the strategic relations entering a new era”, as well as a joint statement on Russian-Chinese economic cooperation until 2030.