Two weeks after being elected for the third time as president of China, Xi Jinping will visit Russia, where he is expected, on the one hand, to strengthen his "boundless relationship with Vladimir Putin, and, on the other hand, to · talk about Beijing as a prominent actor in the search for a way out of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. Beijing presents itself as a neutral actor.
The visit, as announced yesterday Friday by the press service of the Kremlin and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China, will take place between March 20 and 22.
"During the talks, current issues on the development of comprehensive partnership relations and strategic cooperation between Russia and China will be discussed," says the press release from the Russian presidency.
The leaders will sign a dozen documents, including a statement announcing that Russian-Chinese relations are entering a "new era" and another on plans for economic interaction until 2030, said Yuri Uyshakov, diplomatic adviser to Putin.
During the Russian president's visit to the Beijing Winter Olympics in February 2022, Moscow and Beijing established a partnership they described as "without limits". Weeks later, Putin ordered Russian troops into Ukraine.
From the capital of China, its Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that the contacts between Moscow and Beijing "do not target third parties" and do not threaten any country. In a press conference, his spokesman, Wang Wenbin, commented that it will be "a peace visit", that Beijing "will maintain its objective and fair position on the crisis in Ukraine" and "will play a constructive role in promoting talks of peace", reports Efe.
Xi Jinping's visit to Moscow has been expected for some time. Isolated from Western countries due to sanctions against Russia, Putin extended a formal invitation to him in December. In a meeting by video conference, he told him that this visit "will demonstrate to the world the solidity of Russian-Chinese ties".
Uyshakov confirmed yesterday that the conflict in Ukraine will be part of the agenda. Russia "enormously appreciates the position of balance and total moderation of the Chinese leaders on this issue," he said. According to Uyshakov, Beijing "understands the true causes of this crisis".
He added that Moscow welcomes China's initiative to resolve the conflict contained in the twelve-point document it made public on February 24, when it was one year since the entry of Russian troops into Ukraine.
The Chinese peace plan envisages respect for the territorial integrity of all countries. This includes Ukraine, which has some territory under the control of Russian troops. But Beijing also calls for "attention to the legitimate concerns of all countries", with reference to Russia.
China has not explicitly supported Moscow in its intervention in Ukraine, but it has opposed the sanctions against Moscow, and has indicated that "they do not solve the problems".
Earlier, The Wall Street Journal reported that after the trip to Moscow, Xi Jinping may speak via video conference with the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky.
Zelenskiy expressed his desire to speak with the Chinese leader last month. "I intend to meet with Xi Jinping. This will be important for global security. China respects territorial integrity and must do everything possible to ensure that Russia leaves Ukraine,” he said.
In Kyiv, the presidential office reported yesterday that "preparations for the conversation (...) are underway", reported the media Ukraínskaia Pravda. "There are no specific agreements, but the foreign ministers of Ukraine and China have discussed this issue", explained Serhí Nikifórov, spokesman for Volodymyr Zelensky.