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  • 23 Jun, 2024

Old friends—Putin arrives in China for a state visit and meets with Xi Jinping

Old friends—Putin arrives in China for a state visit and meets with Xi Jinping

The latest visit comes as Russia launches a new attack on the Kharkov region in northeastern Ukraine.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has arrived in China for a two-day visit as the two countries seek to strengthen ties since Moscow invaded Ukraine more than twice. years ago.

The visit comes just days after Russia launched a new offensive in the Kharkov region of northeastern Ukraine and claimed progress along a 1,000-kilometer (600 -miles) before Kiev's forces were hit by a long supply of weapons and ammunition from the United States.

Broadcast live on state television, Putin's motorcade of about 20 vehicles, escorted by motorcyclists in white uniforms, arrived outside Beijing's Great Hall of the People at 11:00 (0300 GMT). President Xi Jinping will meet with the President of Russia.

The national anthems of the two countries were played amid the sound of gun salutes, and then the leaders of the two countries inspected the soldiers along the red carpet spread out in a wide area and conducted a reception for about half an hour. A group of children standing next to the singer jumped up and cheered as Putin and Xi walked by.

In a later speech, Xi Jinping considered Putin an "old friend". He told Putin that Sino-Russian relations have stood the test of time, and that the two sides have given each other "strategic guidance" in more than 40 meetings over the years. past ten.

"China is willing to work with Russia as a neighbor, good friend and good friend," Xi Jinping was quoted as saying by Xinhua, the official news agency. The couple is expected to continue their conversation over a cup of tea and a walk in the park, RIA Novosti reported.

Days before Putin sends troops to Ukraine in February 2022, Putin and Xi Jinping have said they have an "unlimited" relationship. When Xi Jinping visited Moscow in March 2023, he described a "new era" in relations between the two countries; in October, during Putin's last visit to Beijing, Xi Jinping spoke of the "deep friendship" between the two men.

The 71-year-old Putin said before his trip that he was choosing China as his first foreign trip after taking office for a fifth term as president, and expressed a "friendship high-level strategy" between the two countries because of the need. close relationship with 70-year-old Xi Jinping.

"We will work hard for cooperation in the fields of industry and high technology, space, and nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, intelligence, renewable energy, and other innovative fields," Putin said to Xinhua.

The two leaders will attend a ceremony to mark the 75th anniversary of Mao Zedong's announcement that the Soviet Union recognized the Republic of China after victory in the Chinese civil war in 1949.

Putin will also visit Harbin in northeastern China, a city close to Russia. In an interview with Xinhua, Putin also appeared to support a 12-point peace plan for Ukraine that received positive feedback from Beijing on the first anniversary of Russia's invasion in February 2023.

He said that the proposal could become a topic for discussion and that Moscow wants to have a dialogue about Ukraine. He reiterated Russia's long-standing position that "negotiations must take into account the interests of all countries involved in the conflict, including ours."

The President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, said that the talks should include the restoration of the territorial integrity of his country, the withdrawal of Russian troops from all Ukrainian territories, the release of all prisoners, the establishment of tribunals for those who are at risk, and the provision of security index for the population of Ukraine.

In June, Switzerland will host a Ukraine peace conference, focusing on the Kyiv framework. More than 50 members have agreed to attend, but Russia has not been invited.

China claims to remain neutral in the conflict but has not condemned Moscow's attacks on sovereign countries.
Russia has a "product" in China

The Kremlin said in a statement in the press this week that Putin and Xi will "discuss several issues related to comprehensive partnership and strategic cooperation" and identify "new opportunities on the development of cooperation between Russia" and China.

Both countries have made it clear that they want to reform the world order based on their vision of the world.

Speaking on Sunday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that Moscow and Beijing "play an important role in balancing in world affairs" and that Putin's visit will "strengthen our work together." Both countries, along with the United States, France and Britain, are members of the UN Security Council.

"We should not underestimate the 'performance' of Russia as an unlimited partner to China and Xi Jinping," said Sari Arho Havren, a fellow at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), in an email to Al Jazeera. - Russia is an important partner to replace the United States and change the world order to the benefit of China and Russia. Russia is also looking at Taiwan as an important part of China, and we have seen 5 opinions about the situation of the Indo-Pacific conflict and Russia's role in helping and connecting with China. in possible combat operations.

Moscow has drawn closer to Beijing, moving much of its energy production to China in the face of Western sanctions and importing high-tech components from Chinese companies for its military industry.

The two countries also strengthened military ties by conducting military exercises in the Sea of ​​Japan and the East China Sea as well as conducting ground military training in each other's territories. China has stepped up military operations around self-ruled Taiwan as the country prepares to install President-elect Le Ching-te in elections next January.

China claims the territory as its own and does not rule out the use of force to achieve its goals.