Chinese President Xi Jinping will visit Moscow next week to meet with Russian leader Vladimir Putin for the first time since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022. Russia’s attack has made it a bit of a pariah in the international community, with only China and some Eastern European states still enjoying warm diplomatic relations with the country.
China’s ongoing support for Russia is troublesome for Western leaders. While the US is heavily involved in sending arms and ammo to Ukraine, Russia has continued to wage war in Ukraine–flirting with the possibility of open war with the West. Such a scenario could trigger a world war if things escalated.
The Moscow trip is Jinping’s first trip out of the country since he won an unprecedented third term as president. Some political commentators have described Jinping as an autocratic bully, which is similar to the Western view of Vladimir Putin. Still, China’s foreign ministry claims that Jinping will urge Putin to pursue peace.
“China’s proposition boils down to one sentence, which is to urge peace and promote talks,” says Wang Wenbin, China’s foreign ministry spokesman. Jinping’s visit will stretch from Monday to Wednesday of next week.
The Russian government made the diplomatic meeting a major talking point Friday morning. The Kremlin stated that Putin and Jinping will discuss “topical issues of further development of comprehensive partnership relations and strategic cooperation between Russia and China.”
Moreover, the government notes, “An exchange of views is also planned in the context of deepening Russian-Chinese cooperation in the international arena.”
The West isn’t thrilled about the possibility of deeper cooperation between Russia and China. Each country is an industrial powerhouse in its own right, and when they work together, Russia and China can dramatically affect global industries.
Jinping and Putin have characterized their friendship as a “no-limits” relationship. While China is presenting its role as a peace mediator for the war in Ukraine, it’s worth noting that Jinping’s government has failed to characterize the invasion of Ukraine as an act of Russian aggression. Instead, Jinping has maintained that NATO somehow spurred the attack.
Some military experts fear that China could begin providing Russia with military assistance. Both countries’ militaries have been observed holding joint training sessions, adding to the speculation that China could be prepared to formally join Russia in a hypothetical future conflict. Jinping will visit Moscow starting Monday, and formal negotiations will begin Tuesday.