As early as next week, sources say, Chinese President Xi Jinping plans to travel to Russia for a meeting with his counterpart, Vladimir Putin.
In light of China’s diplomatic support for Russia, the West is skeptical of China’s ability to act as a peace broker in Ukraine, so the timing of the planned visit is interesting.
It was reported on January 30 by Russia’s Tass news agency that Putin had invited Xi to visit in the spring. Last month, the Wall Street Journal reported that a trip to Moscow was possible in late April or early May.
The Kremlin declined to comment, and the Chinese foreign ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment about Xi possibly visiting Moscow.
For the time being, that’s all the information that’s been made public.
Due to the delicate nature of the situation, the sources who were briefed on the matter declined to be named.
Putin hosted China’s top diplomat, Wang Yi, in Moscow last month, sending a clear message that Xi would also visit Russia.
In February of 2022, while Putin was in Beijing for the opening of the Winter Olympics and weeks before Russia invaded Ukraine, the two countries forged a “no limits” partnership and have repeatedly reaffirmed the strength of their ties since.
Since taking office, Xi has met with Putin 39 times, most recently in September at a summit in central Asia.
On Monday, Xi Jinping wrapped up the National People’s Congress, China’s parliament, where he was confirmed for a historic third term as president.