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Russian President Putin to make state visit to China this week

Screenshot 2024 05 15 083149BEIJING: Russian President Vladimir Putin will make a two-day state visit to China this week, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said Tuesday.

Putin will meet Chinese leader Xi Jinping during his visit starting on Thursday, it said.

The Kremlin in a statement confirmed the trip and said Putin was going on Xi’s invitation. It said that this will be Putin’s first foreign trip since he was sworn in as president and began his fifth term in office.

China has backed Russia politically in the conflict in Ukraine and has continued to export machine tools and other items seen as contributing to the Russian war effort, without actually exporting weaponry.

China is also a major export market for energy supplies that keep the Kremlin’s coffers full. China’s Foreign Ministry said Xi would discuss with Putin “cooperation in various fields of bilateral relations … as well as international and regional issues of common concern.”

China has sought to project itself as a neutral party in the conflict, but has declared a “no limits” relationship with Russia in opposition to the West. The sides have also held a series of joint military drills and China has consistently opposed economic sanctions against Russia in response to its now two-year-old campaign of conquest against Ukraine.

The two continent-sized authoritarian states are increasingly in dispute with democracies and NATO, seek to gain influence in Africa, the Middle East and South America.

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