Russia’s Putin Plans to Visit China in May

Wim De Gent
By Wim De Gent
April 25, 2024World News
Russia’s Putin Plans to Visit China in May
Russia's President Vladimir Putin attends a virtual summit of the BRICS group of nations (the bloc that includes Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) to discuss the Israel-Hamas war, in Moscow on Nov. 21, 2023. (Alexander Kazakov/Pool/AFP via Getty Images)

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday he will visit China in May, in what is believed to be his first trip abroad after securing his re-election in March.

Mr. Putin announced his plans for the visit at a congress of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs in Moscow.

He didn’t disclose an exact date, nor did he provide further details.

The 71-year-old Russian leader will begin his fifth term on May 7 after winning 87 percent of the vote against three insignificant rivals in what the United States and other Western nations have called a sham election.

Russia’s growing economic and diplomatic isolation due to its invasion of Ukraine has driven the country closer to China, its former rival for leadership of the communist bloc during the Cold War.

According to a recent U.S. assessment, China has increased its sales and supplies of equipment and technology to Russia that Moscow is using to produce weapons such as missiles, tanks and aircraft.

Beijing has repeatedly denied such claims, although it has maintained robust economic connections with Moscow.

On Wednesday, the Chinese ambassador to the United Nations took sides with Russia when it vetoed a resolution reaffirming the 1967 Outer Space Treat prohibiting the use of nuclear weapons in space, calling the resolution “incomplete and unbalanced.”

Beijing has not provided direct lethal military support for Russia and has sought to project itself as neutral in the Ukraine conflict.

The Chinese regime has never condemned the Russian occupation of Ukrainian territory, but it has denounced Western sanctions against Moscow and accused NATO and the United States of provoking the invasion.

‘No Limits’ Partnership

China and Russia declared a “no limits” partnership in February 2022, just days before Russian forces invaded Ukraine.

Beijing proposed a peace plan that was largely dismissed by Ukraine’s allies in February last year. Its 12-point peace plan did not contain any specific proposals but spoke in very general terms of “relevant counties” that need to take responsibility—without naming anyone—in “abusing unilateral sanctions” and “do their share in de-escalating the Ukraine crisis.”

The West has always insisted that the total withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukrainian territory is an indispensable condition for peace.

Beijing’s proposal also condemned a “Cold War mentality,” a term that often refers to the United States and the U.S.-European military alliance NATO. “The security of a region should not be achieved by strengthening or expanding military blocs,” the proposal says.

In December 2021, a few months before Russian troops invaded Ukraine, Mr. Putin said Russia would seek “reliable and long-term security guarantees” from the West “that would exclude any further NATO moves eastward,” further warning of a possible military escalation.

“That’s what will happen. And there will be no winners,” he told French President Emmanuel Macron.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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