Putin to visit China to underscore deepening partnership with Xi

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Russian President Vladimir Putin will visit China on May 16-17, the Kremlin said on Tuesday, using the first foreign trip of his new six-year term to underscore the deepening partnership with China’s Xi Jinping.

China and Russia declared a “no limits” partnership in February 2022 when Putin visited Beijing just days before he sent tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine, triggering the deadliest land war in Europe since World War Two.

“At the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping, Vladimir Putin will pay a state visit to China on May 16-17 as his first foreign trip after taking office,” the Kremlin said.

Putin, 71, and Xi, 70, will take part in a gala evening celebrating 75 years since the Soviet Union recognized the People’s Republic of China which was declared by Mao Zedong in 1949.

Reuters reported exclusively in March that Putin would travel to China in May.

The United States casts China as its biggest competitor and Russia as its biggest nation-state threat while U.S. President Joe Biden argues that this century will be defined by an existential contest between democracies and autocracies.

Putin and Xi share a broad world view, which sees the West as decadent and in decline just as China challenges U.S. supremacy in everything from quantum computing and synthetic biology to espionage and hard military power.

During the visit, Putin will meet Chinese Premier Li Qiang to discuss trade and economic co-operation. Putin will also visit Harbin, a city with strong ties to Russia.

Putin pivoted strongly to China after the United States and its allies tried to isolate Russia as punishment for the war in Ukraine.

China-Russian trade hit a record of $240.1-billion in 2023, up 26.3 per cent from a year earlier, Chinese customs data shows.

China has strengthened its trade and military ties with Russia as the United States and its allies imposed sanctions against both countries. Russia has become China’s top crude supplier, with its oil shipments to China jumping more than 24 per cent in 2023 despite Western sanctions.

Putin and Xi “will discuss in detail the entire range of issues of the comprehensive partnership and strategic co-operation,” the Kremlin said.

They will “identify key areas for further development of Russian-Chinese practical co-operation, and exchange views in detail on the most pressing international and regional issues.”

The Kremlin said the two leaders would sign a joint statement after the meeting.


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