China’s Xi Jinping is set to visit Moscow to meet with Russian leader Vladimir Putin, just days after he was unanimously confirmed in a precedent-breaking third term as president.
Plans for the visit, which could happen as soon as next week, come with China offering to broker a peace in Ukraine, an effort that has been met with scepticism in the West given Beijing’s diplomatic support for Russia.
Putin said last month that a Xi visit had been agreed, though the Kremlin chief gave no date for a possible visit. The Wall Street Journal reported last month that a visit to Moscow could take place in April or early May.
“As a rule, announcements of official foreign visits are coordinated synchronously by mutual agreement of the parties,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters in Moscow. “When there is such readiness, we will let you know.”
Last month, Putin hosted China’s top diplomat Wang Yi on a visit to Moscow. One source said that Wang’s trip to Moscow was to help prepare for Xi’s visit.
China and Russia struck a “no limits” partnership in February of 2022, when Putin was visiting Beijing for the opening of the Winter Olympics, weeks before Russia invaded Ukraine. The two sides have continued to reaffirm the strength of their ties.
Xi has met Putin in person 39 times since becoming president, most recently in September during a summit in central Asia.
On Monday, Xi wrapped up the annual session of China’s parliament, the National People’s Congress, during which he was unanimously confirmed in a precedent-breaking third term as president.
- Reuters with additional editing by Sean O’Meara