Chinese leader Xi Jinping arrived in Moscow on Monday on a three-day visit that shows off Beijing’s new diplomatic swagger and offers a welcome political lift for Russian President Vladimir Putin as the fighting in Ukraine slows to a grinding war of attrition.
China and Russia have described Xi’s trip to Moscow as part of efforts to further deepen their “no-limits friendship.” China looks to Russia as a source of oil and gas for its energy-hungry economy. And as a partner in opposing what both see as U.S. domination of global affairs.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that over dinner on Monday, Putin and Xi Jinping will touch on issues related to Ukraine, adding that Russia’s president will likely offer a “detailed explanation” of view by Moscow on the current situation.
Broader talks involving officials from both countries on a range of subjects are scheduled for Tuesday, according to Peskov.
For Putin, Xi’s presence at the Kremlin is a prestige visit and a diplomatic triumph, allowing him to tell Western leaders allied with Ukraine that their efforts to isolate him have fallen short. Xi’s trip comes just days after the International Criminal Court in The Hague announced it wants to put Putin on trial for the abductions of thousands of children from Ukraine.
China portrays Xi’s visit as part of normal diplomatic exchanges and has offered little detail about what the trip aims to accomplish, though the nearly 13 months of war in Ukraine cast a long shadow on the talks.
At a daily briefing in Beijing on Monday, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said Xi’s trip was a “journey of friendship, cooperation and peace.”
On the war, Wang said: “China will uphold its objective and fair position on the Ukrainian crisis and play a constructive role in promoting peace talks.”
Beijing’s leap into Ukraine issues follows its recent success in brokering talks between Iran and its chief Middle Eastern rival, Saudi Arabia, which agreed to restore their diplomatic ties after years of tensions.