Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping will sign a deal in Moscow next week that ushers in a “new era” of their relationship, the Kremlin said on Friday.
Beijing and Moscow have announced that President Xi will be in Russia from Monday to Wednesday to meet with his strategic allies of just over a year ahead of Russia’s military operations in Ukraine.
Kremlin adviser Yuri Ushakov said Putin and President Xi Jinping will sign an important declaration to “strengthen (the two countries’) comprehensive partnership and strategic relationship to enter a new era.”
China’s foreign ministry has called Xi’s visit to Japan a “visit for peace” and aims to “practice true multilateralism, improve global governance, and contribute to global development and progress.” said.
The two leaders will exchange views on bilateral relations and major international and regional issues, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin told reporters.
The world has entered a new era of turmoil.”
“China will maintain an objective and impartial stance on the Ukraine crisis and play a constructive role in promoting peace talks.”
In comments circulated by the Russian press, Ushakov said the Kremlin “highly appreciates” the Chinese government’s “restrained and considered stance” on the conflict.
– Dialogue and Respect –
Xi, 69, broke a long-standing precedent and began his third five-year term as president this month.
His visit to Russia comes just a year after 70-year-old Putin sent troops to Ukraine, launching a conflict that has isolated Moscow on the international stage.
Russia’s main ally, China, has sought to position itself in a neutral position, urging Russia and Kiev to settle the dispute through negotiations.
China last month called for dialogue and respect for the territorial sovereignty of all countries in a 12-point opinion on the dispute.
But Western leaders have repeatedly criticized Beijing for failing to condemn the Russian offensive, accusing it of providing Moscow with diplomatic cover for the attack.
The US has accused China of considering shipping arms to support the Russian campaign, an accusation Beijing strongly denies.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in February that he planned to meet with Xi Jinping after Beijing called for the meeting. China’s foreign ministry did not confirm on Friday whether he intended to do so.
The two countries’ foreign ministers held their first telephone conversation on Thursday since China’s Qin Gang took office.
– Will China make peace? –
Qin urged Kiev and Russia to resume peace talks “as soon as possible,” adding that “China is concerned that the crisis could escalate and spiral out of control.”
Ukraine’s Dmitro Kuleva said the conference call included a discussion on “the importance of the principle of territorial integrity”, but did not give details.
China and Russia, formerly bitter socialist allies, have recently deepened economic, military and political cooperation as part of a “no limits” partnership.
Both sides have often emphasized the close relationship between Putin and Xi Jinping.
Xi last visited Russia in 2019, Putin attended the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Beijing last year, and the two leaders also met at the Regional Security Conference in Uzbekistan in September. Did.
Xi also helped spur a China-brokered deal to restore ties between Iran and Saudi Arabia last week.
“Whether (China) is actually stepping up its efforts to play peacemakers in a meaningful way depends on what China proposes in its meetings with Ukrainian and Russian leaders,” said Jian Chong, an associate professor at the National University. It depends,” he said. of Singapore.
The announcement of Xi’s visit comes after Poland announced this week that Warsaw would deliver the first batch of four MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine.
Slovakia on Friday made an offer to provide Kiev with 13 MiG-29 fighter jets. This prompted the allies to send fighters ahead of the expected spring offensive.
Prime Minister Eduard Heger said: “We are providing these MiGs to Ukraine so that they can protect civilians from the many bombs that fall on their homes. This is why people are dying in Ukraine.
He told reporters that Bratislava will also provide the Kubu air defense system to Ukraine.
The batch includes 10 operational jets and an additional three that have not been used since 2008.
Slovak Defense Minister Jaroslav Nad said the transfer would take “several weeks”.
“Our measures are fully coordinated with Poland and Ukraine,” said Heger, adding that his government “stands on the right side of history.”
Ukraine was primarily looking for the latest US-made F-16s.
The Kremlin said the weapon had no effect on the battlefield.
“All this equipment will be destroyed,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.