Putin Xi
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping. Sputnik/Aleksey Druzhinin/Kremlin via REUTERS/File Photo

Putin invites Xi to come to Russia in spring 2023

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Friday (Dec. 30) he was expecting Chinese President Xi Jinping to make a state visit to Moscow in 2023.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping met remotely via video link Friday (Dec. 30). Putin invited Xi to pay a state visit to Russia in spring 2023, saying that the meeting would become the “main political event” of the year.

“We are expecting you, dear Mr Chairman, dear friend, we are expecting you next spring on a state visit to Moscow,” the Russian leader told Xi in introductory remarks from the video conference broadcast on state television. “This will demonstrate to the whole world the strength of Russian-Chinese ties on key issues.”

Speaking for about eight minutes, Putin stressed the importance of Chinese-Russian relations on the world stage, calling them “a model of cooperation between major powers in the 21st century,”  and said that Moscow hoped to deepen military cooperation between the two countries.

In a response that lasted about a quarter as long, Xi told Putin that China was ready to build up strategic cooperation with Russia against the backdrop of what he called a “difficult and far from unambiguous” situation in the world at large.

China and Russia should also ramp up cooperation in the trade-economic and energy sphere, the Chinese leader said. “Our countries should proactively build up productive pragmatic cooperation in trade and economy, energy and financial sphere, and in the sphere of agriculture, use existing working mechanisms and channels for the dialog for this purpose,” Xi said, cited by Chinese state broadcaster CCTV.

Russia and China conducted joint naval drills last week, which Russia’s defense chief, Valery Gerasimov, described as a response to “aggressive U.S. military build up” in the Asia-Pacific region.

“Military and military-technical cooperation, which contributes to ensuring the security of our countries and maintaining stability in key regions, occupies a special place in Russian-Chinese cooperation,” Putin said Friday. “We aim to strengthen cooperation between the armed forces of Russia and China.”

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov stated that the conversation was “very constructive, voluminous, and partnership-oriented” but that no date had yet been set for Xi’s visit.

Meanwhile, Xi confirmed Beijing would continue upholding an “objective and fair stance” toward the crisis in Ukraine.

With reporting by TASS, CCTV, Reuters, Al Jazeera