China’s Xi Jinping to visit Russia next week, says Kremlin

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Chinese President Xi Jinping, right, will meet his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, in Russia next week [File: Alexei Druzhinin, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP]

The visit comes as China offers to broker peace in Ukraine, an effort that has been met with scepticism in the West.

Chinese President Xi Jinping will be in Russia next week for a state visit after he was invited by President Vladimir Putin, the Kremlin said on Friday.

The two-day trip beginning on Monday comes as Beijing offers to broker peace in Ukraine, an effort that has been met with scepticism in the West given China’s diplomatic support for Russia.

“During the talks, they will discuss topical issues of further development of comprehensive partnership relations and strategic cooperation between Russia and China,” the Kremlin said.

“A number of important bilateral documents will be signed,” it added.

China and Russia struck a “no limits” partnership in February 2022, when Putin was visiting Beijing for the opening of the Winter Olympics, weeks before Russia invaded Ukraine.

The two sides have since continued to reaffirm the strength of their ties. Trade between the two countries has soared since the invasion, and China is Russia’s biggest buyer of oil, a key source of revenue for Moscow.

But in recent weeks, China has been trying to play mediator between Russia and Ukraine.

On February 24, exactly a year after Russia invaded Ukraine, China released a 12-point position paper on the war, in which it called for a ceasefire and talks between the two parties.

Earlier this week, Beijing also offered to mediate between Russia and Ukraine on the Black Sea grain deal, which is due to be extended.

And on Thursday, in a rare phone conversation with his Ukrainian counterpart, China’s foreign minister said Beijing is concerned about the year-old grinding conflict spinning out of control and urged talks on a political solution with Moscow.

Qin Gang told Dmytro Kuleba that China has “always upheld an objective and fair stance on the Ukraine issue, has committed itself to promoting peace and advancing negotiations and calls on the international community to create conditions for peace talks”, China’s foreign ministry said in a statement posted on its website.

Kuleba later tweeted that he and Qin “discussed the significance of the principle of territorial integrity”.

“I underscored the importance of [Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s] Peace Formula for ending the aggression and restoring just peace in Ukraine,” wrote Kuleba, who spoke the same day with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA AND NEWS AGENCIES

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