Xi’s Visit to Russia Was About China’s Interests, not Ukraine

Xi’s Visit to Russia Was About China’s Interests, not Ukraine
Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin make a joint appearance following their talks at the Kremlin, in Moscow, Russia, March 21, 2023 (Sputnik photo by Mikhail Tereshchenko via AP).

BEIJING—President Xi Jinping was in Moscow this week for a three-day state visit at the invitation of Russian President Vladimir Putin, a man he often refers to as his “best friend.” After a warm welcome on the tarmac, Russian state TV cameras captured the two leaders flattering each other at the Kremlin, with Xi predicting Putin’s reelection next year.

The visit marks Xi’s first international trip since locking down his unprecedented third term as Chinese president, and his first to Russia since the invasion of Ukraine. It also comes just weeks after Beijing released a 12-point position paper on a political settlement to what it calls the “Ukraine Crisis.”

Ahead of his trip, Xi also signed an op-ed in the form of an open letter in Russian state media that described the two countries’ relationship as one of “friendship, cooperation and peace.” The letter called for increased economic and people-to-people exchanges between China and Russia, but also included two paragraphs on the war. Xi underlined the importance of respecting the “legitimate security concerns of all countries,” while repeating other broad statements Beijing has made before.

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