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China’s Xi to pay state visit to Russia after being re-elected president

This will be Xi Jinping's first visit since he was re-elected as China's president on March 10 for an unprecedented third five-year term

BEIJING, March 20. /TASS/. China’s President Xi Jinping will pay a state visit to Russia at the invitation of his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, from March 20 through 22.

It will be Xi’s first visit after he was re-elected as China’s president for an unprecedented third five-year term on March 10.

According to Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin, Putin and Xi will exchange views on bilateral relations and key international and regional matters of mutual interest. He said that this visit of friendship will help promote strategic coordination and practical cooperation between Moscow and Beijing. It will give a fresh impetus to the development of bilateral relations and will strengthen trust and mutual understanding between China and Russia, Wang Wenbin said.

The Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson note that the two heads of state have been maintaining close contacts in recent years.

According to Xinhua, Putin and Xi have had around 40 contacts in the past ten years. Their latest round of communication took place in a videoconference format in late December 2022. Prior to that, they had two telephone talks in February and June 2022 and had two offline meetings: at bilateral talks in Beijing in early February 2022 and on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Samarkand in mid-September.

Xi’s current visit will take place amid the ongoing Ukrainian crisis and the West’s anti-Russian rhetoric. Moscow and Beijing have repeatedly said that their relations cannot be influenced by third countries.

The two leaders are expected to exchange views on the Ukrainian crisis. Wang Wenbin described Xi’s trip as a "visit of peace," adding that Chinese-Russian relations rest on the principles of non-affiliation with any blocs, rejection of confrontation and non-aiming against third countries. Ahead of the presidents’ talks, the Chinese foreign ministry spokesman noted that China will advocate its "unbiased and fair position on the Ukrainian crisis" and will play a constructive role in promoting peace talks.

Meanwhile, Russian presidential aide Yury Ushakov told journalists that the agenda of the leaders’ talks will include issues of military-technical cooperation, which has been part of bilateral relations for decades. The two countries conduct joint naval drills and organize joint flights of Russian and Chinese warplanes, including within patrolling missions in "sensitive areas" along the coastline of mainland China.

Another major topic will be the development of trade and economic relations between the two countries and the implementation of joint energy projects. Bilateral trade in 2022 reached a record-high level of 190 billion US dollars. China’s exports to Russia last year grew by 12.8% to amount to 76.12 billion US dollars, while Russia’s exports to China jumped by 43.4%, to 76.12 billion US dollars. The leaders have set a goal of increasing bilateral trade to 200 billion US dollars in 2024.

According to Russian Ambassador to Beijing Igor Morgulov, this target will be easily achieved this year.

Economic cooperation between Russia and China will continue to bring benefits to the peoples of the two countries and give more positive impetuses to the revival of the global economy, the Chinese foreign ministry said.