OAN Roy Francis
UPDATED 8:15 AM – Friday, March 17, 2023
Chinese leader Xi Jinping is set to fly to Moscow on Monday to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
This will be the first trip that the Chinese leader makes to Russia since Putin launched his war against Ukraine, and also comes at a time where tensions between the United States and Russia are an all-time high. This will mark Xi’s first trip since he had secured his third term as president of China on March 10th.
The meeting was announced on Friday by both Beijing and the Kremlin. China said that the visit will take place from Monday to Wednesday at the invitation of Putin. China’s foreign ministry also stated that the main purpose of the visit will be talks about the war in Ukraine.
Beijing had previously offered peace proposals to try and bring the war to an end. Late in February, China released a 12-point “peace plan” which called for a cease fire in Ukraine.
“China’s proposition boils down to one sentence, which is to urge peace and promote talks,” Chinese spokesman Wang Wenbin said.
The Kremlin stated that the two leaders will also discuss the “partnership relations and strategic cooperation between Russia and China.”
“An exchange of views is also planned in the context of deepening Russian-Chinese cooperation in the international arena,” the Kremlin said. “A number of important bilateral documents will be signed.”
The trip has been long expected since the two leaders had declared that “their partnership has no limits” last year.
However, Western nations have warned China against sending weapons, or any military aid to Russia, since it would escalate the conflict even further.
In February, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that he wants to meet with the Chinese leader claiming that he believe that “China will not supply weapons to Russia.”
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kubela gave an interview to BBC when Xi’s trip to Russia was announced and said that he doesn’t believe China is at the moment where it wants to arm Russia.
“I don’t think China has reached the moment now when it wants to, when it’s ready to arm Russia. Nor do I think that this visit will result in peace,” he said. “The visit to Moscow in itself is a message but I don’t think it will have any immediate consequences. And I think this is the message to the entire world, to the West but also most importantly, to the non-West, that Russia is not alone, that China is talking to them.”
Kuleba explained that the message they wish to send is “that China and Russia are very close, close enough for the Chinese leader to visit his Russian counterpart, who is not doing very well.”
Reports suggest that the Chinese leader and Ukrainian President will also speak by phone after Xi’s visit in Russia is concluded. United States officials are encouraging the two leaders to speak saying that it would be “a very good thing if the two of them talk.”
The Kremlin have released a schedule of the events to take place during Xi’s visit with Putin. The two leaders will start on Monday in a one-on-one meeting, followed by an “informal lunch,” with negotiations are scheduled to take place on Tuesday.
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