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Russia and China mark a “new era” with a meeting between Putin and Xi Jinping in Moscow

The Russian President, Vladimir Putinand its Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinpingwill sign next week in Moscow during the visit of the Chinese leader a series of agreements that will mark the beginning of a “new era”, assured the Kremlin this Friday.

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The Chinese leader will be in Russia from Monday to Wednesday, the Chinese Foreign Ministry and the Kremlin announced this Friday for talks with a strategic ally, a little more than a year after the start of the Russian offensive in Ukraine.

This diplomatic announcement came just hours before the International Criminal Court (ICC) announced that it had issued an arrest warrant against the Russian president for the deportation of children from Russian-occupied areas of Ukraine.

Xi and Putin will hold a first meeting on Monday, before a day of more formal negotiations on Tuesday.

“The leaders will sign (…) a joint declaration on strengthening our global partnership and our strategic relationship, which will enter a new era”indicated diplomatic adviser Yuri Ushakov, quoted by the Russian press agencies.

Ushakov also praised Xi’s “restraint” on the conflict in Ukraine, an issue in which China seeks to present itself as a mediator, despite diplomatic support given to Russia.

On Thursday, Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang insisted in a telephone conversation with the head of Ukrainian diplomacy Dmytro Kuleba that Kiev and Moscow should hold peace talks. “as soon as possible”.

The United States expressed on Friday that it opposes the call for a ceasefire, as it believes it would consolidate the “Russian conquest,” John Kirby, a spokesman for the National Security Council, told reporters.

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Military and technical cooperation

Chinese diplomacy claimed that Xi’s is a “peace visit”, aimed at “practice multilateralism (…) improve global governance and contribute to the development and progress of the world.”

The Kremlin indicated that Xi and Putin will address the “deepening of comprehensive collaboration and strategic cooperation between Russia and China”, above all “on the international scene”and added that “Important bilateral documents will be signed.”

Xi’s visit will come nearly 13 months after the start of Russia’s campaign in Ukraine, which has largely isolated Moscow internationally.

China has not condemned the military offensive and has tried to present itself as a neutral player in the dispute. His position has been criticized by Western leaders, who believe the Asian powerhouse is giving Moscow diplomatic cover.

The United States even accused China of considering arms delivery to Russia, which Beijing strongly denied. Despite these accusations, the two leaders are going to discuss military and technical cooperation, according to the Kremlin.

Vassily Kashin, a Moscow-based geopolitical expert, said the “economic agenda” is a dominant issue for Russia, which “it must reorient its economy towards China in the face of Western economic sanctions”related to the offensive in Ukraine.

China, for its part, “claims itself as an important political force on the international scene” and wants to have “as many supporters as possible”he explained to AFP.

China and Russia have strengthened their cooperation in recent years at the economic, military and political levels.

Xi last visited Russia in 2019. Putin attended the opening of the Winter Olympics in Beijing last year, and the two leaders met in person at a regional security summit last September in Uzbekistan.

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Dialogue between Xi and Zelensky?

In a 12-point document released last month on the conflict in Ukraine, China called for dialogue and respect for the territorial integrity of all countries.

In any case, the Chinese call for peace seems far from materializing.

This Friday, the Kremlin promised that the MiG-29 fighters that Poland and Slovakia will deliver to Ukraine will be “destroyed”, and denounced the “growing involvement” of NATO countries in the conflict with Kiev.

According to Ja-Ian Chong, associate professor at the National University of Singapore, the extent of China’s peace efforts “will depend on the substance of what it proposes in meetings” with Putin and eventually with the Ukrainian ruling class.

“His previous peace plan was more a series of general principles than an applicable proposal”this specialist in Chinese foreign policy told AFP.

Since the start of the conflict, the Chinese president has not had any meetings with his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelensky.

According to the Wall Street Journal, there could be a talk after Xi’s visit to Moscow.

Source: Elcomercio

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