Chinese president Xi Jinping is on a state visit to Russia from March 20 through 22, his first international trip since being re-elected. The Chinese leader had a tete-a-tete informal meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday (March 20), which lasted for 4.5 hours, according to Russian state media.
Putin and Xi greeted one another as “dear friend” when they met in the Kremlin. The war in Ukraine was raised in the first hours of their meeting. In televised comments, Putin told Xi he viewed China’s proposals for a resolution of the Ukraine conflict with respect. China has released a proposal to solve the Ukraine crisis, despite deep skepticism in Kyiv and the West.
“In the last few years, China has made a colossal leap forward,” Putin told Xi, sitting side by side with him. “In the whole world, this evokes interest, and unfortunately even envy.” Xi, for his part, praised Putin. “Under your strong leadership, Russia has made great strides in its prosperous development,” he said.
Xi shared on Tuesday (March 21) that Russia was chosen as the first country of the visit due to “historic logic,” as the two are “the largest powers and strategic partners.”
The Chinese head of state also invited Putin to visit Beijing in 2023, as the country will be hosting the Third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation this year. In addition, Xi invited Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin to take a trip to China “as soon as possible,” in order for even closer ties to be established, which Mishustin accepted.
Xi emphasized that relations between Beijing and Moscow have been growing steadily and “healthily” and that the two sides are achieving significant results and outlining ways for future cooperation while broadening bilateral cooperation formats. “Political mutual understanding” between Beijing and Moscow is “deepening” and cooperation in trade and investments is developing, Xi said.
The program of the visit will end with a state dinner in the Palace of the Facets. The visit provides a platform for the two countries to further deepen their close strategic alignment, which spans diplomatic coordination, joint military training and robust trade.
UPDATE 22/03/2023 19:43
As Xi departed he told Putin: “Now there are changes that haven’t happened in 100 years. When we are together, we drive these changes.”
“I agree,” Putin said, to which Xi responded: “Take care of yourself dear friend, please.”
Putin said on the Kremlin’s website: “We are working in solidarity on the formation of a more just and democratic multipolar world order, which should be based on the central role of the U.N., its Security Council, international law, the purposes and principles of the U.N. Charter.”
China said in a statement: “They [the leaders] shared the view that this relationship has gone far beyond the bilateral scope and acquired critical importance for the global landscape and the future of humanity.”
With reporting by TASS, Reuters, Xinhua