Putin to visit China for the first time since Ukraine invasion

Written by Henrik Rothen

Oct.16 - 2023 7:50 AM CET

Photo: Shutterstock.com
Photo: Shutterstock.com
Putin to visit China for the first time since Ukraine invasion.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin is set to attend a conference in China on Tuesday, October 17, focusing on the country's Belt and Road Initiative, according to China's Foreign Minister.

The exact time of Putin's arrival in China remains unclear.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov also stated that Putin will discuss bilateral relations with Chinese President Xi Jinping during his visit.

Although it was already known that Putin and Xi were scheduled to meet in October, the exact date has not been disclosed.

Putin received an invitation to the forum when Xi visited Moscow in March. This will be Putin's first visit to China since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, a conflict that the West has repeatedly urged China to condemn, to no avail.

China has previously presented its own peace plan for Ukraine, which has had sporadic meetings with both Russian and Ukrainian government officials but has not significantly impacted the conflict. Putin recently called the plan "realistic."

The last time Putin was in China, just before the invasion of Ukraine, he and Xi Jinping announced a partnership "without borders" that encompasses trade, politics, economics, and military cooperation.

China has been purchasing a significant amount of Russian oil and gas at discounted rates, which Europe no longer buys due to sanctions.

The Belt and Road Initiative aims to create a modern version of the ancient Silk Road, a caravan route over 10,000 kilometers long from China through Asia to Europe and the Middle East. The modern version includes high-speed trains, highways, ports, and airports.

Critics argue that the project is a tool for the Chinese leadership, led by President Xi Jinping, to expand China's geopolitical and economic influence, trapping poorer countries in "debt traps."

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