Xi Jinping said China was ready with Russia “to stand guard over the world order based on international law” as he arrived for a state visit to Moscow that comes days after Vladimir Putin was made the subject of an arrest warrant by the international criminal court.
The Chinese leader is expected to position himself as a potential peacemaker in the Ukraine war during his two-day visit to Russia – his first state visit since Putin’s invasion. For his part, the Russian president will be hoping to project unity in the face of western isolation, as the US condemned Xi for providing “diplomatic cover” for Moscow to continue to commit further crimes in Ukraine.
A military brass band greeted Xi at Moscow’s Vnukovo airport, where he was welcomed by Russia’s deputy prime minister for tourism, sport, culture and communications, Dmitri Chernyshenko
“I am very glad, at the invitation of President Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, to come back to the land of our close neighbour on a state visit,” Xi said upon arrival, according to Russia’s state-run Tass news agency. “I am confident the visit will be fruitful and give new momentum to the healthy and stable development of Chinese-Russian relations.”
Xi added that with Russia, China was “ready to resolutely defend the UN-centric international system, stand guard over the world order based on international law”.
The two leaders spoke briefly to the press on Monday at the Kremlin before an “informal meeting”.
“We have thoroughly studied your proposals on regulating the acute crisis in Ukraine. Of course, we will have an opportunity to discuss them,” Putin told Xi, referring to China’s peace plan for dealing with the war in Ukraine. “We are always open to negotiations,” the Russian leader added.
Xi in turn praised Putin’s “strong leadership” and said he was sure the Russian people would support him in the presidential elections next year.
The Russian leader has not yet formally announced he is running for president and the Kremlin on Monday was quick to deny Xi had inside knowledge about Putin’s plans.
The state-run Ria news agency said Monday’s informal talks lasted for four and a half hours. The talks were accompanied by a six-course meal that included blini with quail and mushrooms, fish and pomegranate sorbet, according to a menu published by a state media journalist. Putin then walked with Xi to his car and said goodbye.
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