Putin and Xi Meet in Beijing, Building 'Limitless Partnership'
Moscow and Beijing Discuss the Israel-Hamas War Among Other Matters
Russian President Vladimir Putin has arrived in Beijing for the third international Belt and Road forum, where he will meet with Chinese leader Xi Jinping.
This visit marks Putin's first trip outside of former Soviet Union countries since the International Criminal Court issued a warrant for his arrest in March, which affected his travel plans to the August BRICS summit in South Africa.
Instead, he addressed the summit remotely while Xi, Modi, and other leaders were present in Johannesburg.
According to China Central Television, Putin will attend a welcome dinner hosted by Xi on Tuesday night, followed by lengthy formal talks on Wednesday. The leaders’ meeting was described by analysts as a strengthening of a “no limits” partnership between the two nations.
The meeting between the two leaders comes at a time when the international focus on Putin has somewhat shifted due to the ongoing conflict between Israel and Gaza.
The last time Xi and Putin met was in early 2022, just three weeks before Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Now, the leaders are expected to find common ground in criticizing Israel's actions and renew calls for a ceasefire in Gaza. China's foreign ministry has already condemned Israel's actions, describing them as collective punishment against Palestinians.
Foreign Minister Wang Yi expressed his concerns during a call with his Saudi Arabian counterpart, Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud, stating, "Israel’s actions have gone beyond self-defense, and it should heed the call of the international community and the Secretary-General of the United Nations to stop its collective punishment of the people in Gaza."
Wang Yi also stressed the importance of abiding by international humanitarian law and avoiding innocent civilian casualties while exercising the right to self-defense.
The Belt and Road forum provides an opportunity for Putin and Xi to discuss their countries' economic cooperation, as well as regional and global issues of mutual interest. The forum aims to promote connectivity and infrastructure development across Asia, Europe, and Africa. Putin's presence at the event underscores Russia's commitment to this initiative and its desire to strengthen ties with China.
As Putin and Xi engage in discussions, the world will be watching closely, given the international scrutiny surrounding Putin and the ongoing conflict in the Middle East. This meeting presents an opportunity for both leaders to address pressing global concerns and showcase their diplomatic efforts.
Putin's visit to Beijing to meet with Xi Jinping comes at a crucial time, both for the Belt and Road initiative and amidst international attention on the conflict in Gaza. The leaders are expected to find common ground on criticizing Israel's actions and renew calls for a ceasefire while also discussing economic cooperation and regional issues.
The outcome of their talks are expected to have implications for Russia-China relations and the global stage as a whole.