Putin to visit China on Thursday to discuss future strategic ties

Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Putin

Beijing/Moscow | Days after being sworn in for a fifth term, Russian President Vladimir Putin will travel to China on Thursday on a two-day state visit to discuss with his close friend and Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping the future course of their strategic alliance amid mounting pressure on Beijing to scale down its support to Moscow’s continuing war in Ukraine.

At the invitation of Xi, Putin will pay a state visit to China from May 16 to 17, the first state visit since his new term as president began, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin told a media briefing here on Tuesday.

Both leaders will exchange views on bilateral relations, cooperation in various fields, and international and regional issues of mutual interest in light of the 75th anniversary of China-Russia diplomatic relations, he said.

During his visit, Putin, who was sworn in for his fifth Presidential term on May 7, will travel to two cities: Beijing and Harbin.

Putin’s visit to China, the second in about eight months, follows Xi’s just concluded European Union tour to France, Serbia and Hungary.

In his talks with French President Emmanuel Macron and EU Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen, Xi pledged that China would not sell arms to Russia and would control the flow of dual-use goods to its military.

The US too is mounting pressure on China not to sell arms to Russia to further its war in Ukraine.

While Xi, 70, regards his ties with Putin, 71, as counter to the US' increasing hostility towards China, which Beijing says is aimed at countering its rise, there is unease here over Putin’s continuation of the Ukraine war.

Though Beijing has not publically supported Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the “no limits” China-Russia strategic partnership has come under intense scrutiny from the United States and its allies, who have imposed sanctions on Moscow and repeatedly called Beijing to use its leverage to bring the war to an end.

Ahead of Putin’s visit, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Russia and China have many allies and will have many more in the future, Russia’s state-run Tass news agency reported on Tuesday.

"We have many allies, and their number will continue to grow, I have no doubt. And, of course, all this will be for the benefit of democratisation of international relations, when everyone will take his place in world affairs by right, according to the real contribution to the development of the world economy, world politics, world security, and not through blackmail, threats, ultimatums," Lavrov said.

Lavrov stressed that Moscow and Beijing "are not the only ones who want to reform the international system, promote the establishment of a multipolar world order that would reflect the real weight of states".

Moscow and Beijing want to be the leaders in terms of advocating the democratic world order, he said.

"China has become the leader of global development. This is not liked by the United States, which, along with its satellites, has brought to heel the rest of the West, and has declared doctrinally that it cannot allow anyone to be stronger and more influential than Washington," he said.

"That is why we, with Chinese colleagues, are interested in continuing to be the leaders in terms of efforts toward establishing a fairer democratic world order”, he said.

According to the Russian presidential press service, Putin and Xi “will discuss in detail the entire set of comprehensive partnership and strategic interaction issues.” Additionally, they will “determine the key directions of the further development of Russian-Chinese practical cooperation” and exchange opinions on the most pressing international issues.

The Kremlin noted that “it is planned to sign a joint statement of the heads of state following talks and several bilateral documents.”

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