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China's Xi Jinping to visit Russia on March 20-22

by The Kyiv Independent news desk March 17, 2023 2:42 PM 2 min read
Xi Jinping, China's president, at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Bangkok, Thailand, on Nov. 19, 2022. (Andre Malerba/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
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The state visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to Russia will take place from March 20 to 22, according to a statement published by the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

It will be Xi's first trip to Russia since the full-scale invasion of Ukraine started in February last year.

The Kremlin also confirmed the visit at the invitation of Russian dictator Vladimir Putin, saying the two leaders would discuss "strategic cooperation."

"An exchange of views is also planned in the context of deepening Russian-Chinese cooperation in the international arena," Putin's administration added. "A number of important bilateral documents will be signed."

Reuters and the Wall Street Journal previously reported the Chinese president's plans to travel to Moscow this spring.

Xi's meeting with Putin will be a part of a push for multilateral peace negotiations as Beijing claims it wants to play a more active role in ending the war against Ukraine, the WSJ sources said.

On Feb. 24, China's Foreign Ministry released a 12-point statement that detailed Beijing's stance on achieving a "political settlement" to resolve Russia's full-scale war against Ukraine. The "peace plan" was criticized by U.S. President Joe Biden, who claimed it would likely only work in Russia's favor, and other top Western officials. President Volodymyr Zelensky said he did not consider China's proposal a peace plan.

The Chinese government has avoided explicitly criticizing Russia for the full-scale invasion, instead accusing NATO of provoking the war.

Multiple U.S. officials have publicly stated over the past month that China was considering providing lethal aid to Russia. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned top Chinese diplomat Wang Yi that doing so "would have serious consequences in our relationship."

Trade and customs data from between June and December 2022 showed that Chinese companies had exported 1,000 assault rifles and other equipment, such as drone parts and body armor, to Russian entities, Politico reported on March 16.

WSJ: China's Xi Jinping to speak to Zelensky after his Moscow visit

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