(Bloomberg) — Chinese leader Xi Jinping is making his first state visit to Russia since it invaded Ukraine, in a strong show of support for President Vladimir Putin.
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Xi will be in Russia from Monday to Wednesday next week, according to a statement from China’s Foreign Ministry. Xi, who secured a third term as president a week ago, will be the most prominent international leader to visit Putin since his February 2022 invasion of Ukraine.
“Xi’s visit to Russia will be a journey of friendship” and deepening mutual trust, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said Friday at a regular press briefing in Beijing.
During the trip, Xi is expected to discuss China’s 12-point blueprint for ending the war, a document dismissed by most Western governments. The criticism of the plan was more muted from Kyiv, which has sought talks at a leader level with China since the war broke out, while also urging Beijing to take a more critical stance against Russia.
The Kremlin confirmed the state visit, saying it was at Putin’s invitation. The two leaders will discuss “developing the no-limits partnership and strategic cooperation between Russia and China,” the Kremlin said in a statement.
Xi and Putin will “exchange views in the context of deepening Russo-Chinese cooperation in the international arena,” it said, adding that several bilateral documents will be signed, without providing details.
Zhang Hanhui, China’s ambassador to Russia, said economic and trade cooperation between the two countries has “advanced” despite the pandemic, geopolitical challenges and sluggish global recovery, the People’s Daily, the Communist Party’s official newspaper, reported Saturday.
“The more unstable the world gets, the more steady strides China and Russia should make in their relations,” Zhang said in a joint interview with Chinese media, according to the report. Bilateral trade this year could reach the 200 billion yuan target set by leaders of the two nations, with a 26% year-on-year jump in the first two months, he added.
The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index extended its loss after the news of the visit, falling as much as 0.5%.
This visit comes as Xi is rebooting his image as a global statesman. He already got a significant win by recently helping broker a deal between Saudi Arabia and Iran to restore diplomatic ties.
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