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Chinese president says relations with Russia are a ‘priority’

Chinese president says relations with Russia are a ‘priority’

President Xi Jinping said Tuesday that China I was going to givepriority” to relations with Russiatwo “neighboring great powers”hours before meeting in Moscow with his partner Vladimir Putin to address the conflict Ukraine.

On the second day of his state visit to Russia, Xi viewed his trip as a response to a “historical logic”given that “We are great neighboring powers and strategic partners at all levels.”

The Chinese president also noted that Beijing “will continue to give priority to the global strategic collaboration between China and Russia,” in statements during an interview with Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, reported by Russian news agencies.

Xi, who will meet again on Tuesday with Putin, after a first meeting the day before, also assured that he had invited his Russian counterpart to China. “This year, when I cana”, despite the arrest warrant issued last week by the International Criminal Court (ICC) against the head of the Kremlin.

Parallel to this visit by Xi to Moscow, another Asian ruler, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, is traveling to kyiv to meet with Ukrainian President Volodimir Zelensky.

Kishida “will directly convey to President Zelensky respect for the courage and perseverance of the Ukrainian people who, under his leadership, have risen up to defend their homeland,” The Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

Kishida was the only G7 leader who had not gone to the Ukrainian capital since the start of the conflict in February 2022.

Still, Japan had joined Western sanctions against Russia and announced new $5.5 billion in aid to Ukraine in February, though it has not provided military assistance because its pacifist constitution forbids it.

Chinese proposal

The conflict in the former Soviet republic will be at the center of the new meeting between Xi and Putin this Tuesday.

In the meeting the day before, the Russian leader said that they were “open to negotiations” on Ukraine and praised China’s 12-point peace proposal, which includes a call for dialogue and respect for the territorial sovereignty of all countries.

Putin assured that both countries have “many goals in common” and praised China for its “fair and balanced position on the most urgent international issues”.

For his part, Xi stated that China is “willing to stand firmly on the side of Russia” for the sake of a “true multilateralism”.

Western powers have criticized China’s stance on Ukraine which, in their view, implies Beijing’s tacit backing for Moscow’s armed intervention.

The head of US diplomacy, Antony Blinken, on Monday called on the international community not to be “fooled” by China’s position and accused it of “provide diplomatic cover for Russia.”

For its part, kyiv, which is cautious about Chinese intentions, urged the Chinese president to “use their influence on Moscow to end the aggressive war.”

“Record” gas supply

At odds during the Cold War despite sharing communist ideology, Moscow and Beijing have strengthened their cooperation in recent years, united in their desire to counter US dominance in international politics.

However, analysts consider it difficult for China, which has recently participated in the diplomatic reconciliation between Saudi Arabia and Iran, to achieve a cessation of hostilities in Ukraine.

In addition to geopolitical issues, economic issues will also focus the meeting between Putin and Xi.

The Chinese leader’s trip takes place at a time when Russia is redirecting its economy towards Asia, to avoid Western sanctions against it.

An example of this is the announcement this Tuesday by the Russian giant Gazprom, which supplied a volume the day before “record” of gas to Beijing via the Siberian cross-border gas pipeline.

According to the Kremlin, Xi and Putin will sign several documents on Tuesday, including a joint declaration to deepen their economic relations by 2030.

Source: AFP

Source: Gestion

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