China’s president Xi Jinping will meet Vladimir Putin in Moscow next week during a three-day visit that will reinforce their bilateral ties in the face of criticism from the United States and its allies. Confirming the state visit, which follows calls from Beijing for a ceasefire in Ukraine, Chinese foreign ministry spokeman Wang Wenbin said it would promote world peace.
“We always believe that political dialogue is the only way to resolve conflicts and disputes. Showing swords, unilateral sanctions, and extreme pressure will only intensify contradictions and heighten tensions, which is not in line with the interests and expectations of most countries in the world,” he said.
“China will uphold its objective and fair stance on international and regional hotspot issues such as the Ukraine crisis, and continue to play a constructive role in a political resolution to the crisis.”
The Kremlin said Mr Xi and Mr Putin, who declared a “no limits” partnership days before the Russian invasion of Ukraine last year, would discuss the further development of their partnership and strategic cooperation. It said the two leaders would sign several bilateral agreements.
Western media have reported that Mr Xi will speak to Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy in the coming days but there has been no official confirmation of such a plan in Beijing.
China last month published a 12-point position paper calling for a negotiated settlement to the war in Ukraine and foreign minister Qin Gang this week spoke to his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba. Mr Qin called for talks between Ukraine and Russia, urging the two sides to keep the door open to a negotiated settlement despite the escalation of hostilities on the battlefield.
The Chinese foreign ministry said in a statement that Mr Qin stressed to Mr Kuleba “that China upholds an objective and impartial position on the Ukraine issue, stays committed to promoting talks for peace, and calls on the international community to create enabling conditions for peace talks. China is concerned that the crisis has dragged on and escalated and may even spiral out of control, and hopes that the relevant parties will stay cool-headed and rational, exercise restraint, resume peace talks as soon as possible, and return to the track of political settlement. Qin also expressed the hope that Ukraine and Russia will keep alive the hope of dialogue and negotiation, and will not close the door to a political settlement, no matter how difficult and challenging it may be. China will continue to play a constructive role in bringing an end to the conflict, mitigating the crisis and restoring peace.”
China last week brokered an accord between Saudi Arabia and Iran which will see the two Middle Eastern rivals restore diplomatic relations after seven years and reopen embassies in each other’s capitals. Washington and its allies have questioned Beijing’s bona fides in promoting a negotiated settlement in Ukraine because China has not condemned Russia’s invasion.
Washington has claimed that China is considering supplying lethal military aid to Russia, something Beijing has denied. The United States and its allies have supplied more than €50 billion in military aid to Ukraine since the war began.