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Putin and Xi meet in Beijing

The Russian president’s two-day visit marks the 75th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the countries.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has met with Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping in Beijing during a state visit to China on Thursday. It is Putin’s first foreign trip since he was sworn in for a fifth term as president earlier this month.

The leaders shook hands outside the Great Hall of the People on Tiananmen Square and listened to a military orchestra that performed the two countries’ national anthems. They later posed for photographs before leaving for a meeting between delegations from the two nations.

Putin is being accompanied by multiple state ministers, who will participate in negotiations on projects aimed at deepening bilateral ties.

In an interview with Chinese news agency Xinhua before the trip, Putin hailed the “unprecedented level of strategic partnership” between the two states.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry also praised relations with Moscow in a statement on Thursday, saying they have “grown from strength to strength despite the ups and downs, and have stood the test of [a] changing international landscape.”

“Steady development of China-Russia relations is… conducive to peace, stability and prosperity of the region and the world at large,” the ministry added.

Russia and China have similar positions on the Ukraine conflict. Speaking to Xinhua, Putin praised Beijing for understanding “its root causes and global geopolitical significance.” China has refused to blame Russia for the tensions and has instead condemned the expansion of NATO and Washington’s “Cold-War mentality.”

The fighting between Russia and Ukraine entered its third year in February, with Kiev’s Western backers renewing their pledges to support Ukraine with money and weapons for “as long as it takes.” At the same time, tensions continue between China and the US in the Indo-Pacific and elsewhere.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg recently described China as “the main country that is enabling Russia to conduct its war of aggression.”

Beijing unveiled a 12-point roadmap to peace in Ukraine last year, emphasizing diplomacy. “We should prioritize the upholding of peace and stability and refrain from seeking selfish gains,” Xi said last month, urging all sides to “cool down the situation and not add fuel to the fire.” Beijing has also rejected Washington’s sanctions policy and trade war as an effort to ensure a dominant position on the world stage.

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