Despite Western criticism of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Chinese President Xi Jinping will visit Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday (20 March) to reinforce their strong bond.
During Xi's first trip to Russia since the war began in February last year, China's foreign ministry has stated that Xi and Putin will discuss mutual international concerns and have in-depth exchanges about bilateral relations in the three-day visit.
China's offer to mediate in the Ukraine conflict has been met with skepticism by Europe and the US due to the close relationship between Xi and Putin, evident in their "no limits" partnership declared just before hostilities erupted.
Xi consistently communicated with Putin, while the Chinese state media refrained from calling the war an invasion, instead describing it as a “crisis” over the past year.
Xi Jinping, the Chinese leader, hasn't communicated with Ukraine's president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, since the war began. However, there are rumors that Xi might hold a video conference with Zelenskyy soon, as reported by the Financial Times.
Though there is no official confirmation, China has been engaging with Ukraine through ministerial-level contact recently. On Thursday (16 March), Qin Gang, China's foreign minister, urged for peace talks in a conversation with Dmytro Kuleba, his Ukrainian counterpart.
China's foreign ministry stated that they promote peace talks and maintain fair and objective stance in Ukraine.
China provided no information on the agenda regarding Putin's state visit to Russia. However, the Kremlin stated that Putin and Xi will discuss the "development of comprehensive partnership and strategic interaction" between the two countries.
The meeting involves discussing Russia-China co-operation in the international arena and signing undisclosed bilateral documents. No further information has been provided.
China's success in mediating a diplomatic deal between Saudi Arabia and Iran last week has been hailed by analysts as a positive achievement.
However, Beijing's alignment with Moscow makes resolving the Ukraine conflict a more challenging negotiation and one that could prove far more complex for China.
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