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Putin confirms trip to China

The Russian leader has said he would happy to attend the Belt and Road Initiative forum in Beijing in October

China’s President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin. ©  Alexandr Demyanchuk / SPUTNIK / AFP

Russian President Vladimir Putin has confirmed that he will travel to China next month on his first foreign trip of 2023. Nikolay Patrushev, the secretary of the Russian Security Council, earlier said that during the visit Putin would meet his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping.

Speaking at a meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Wednesday, Putin touted his last sit-down with Xi, which took place in March, as “extremely successful” and “groundbreaking,” noting that it had given a strong impetus to bilateral relations.

The Russian president said that he “was happy to accept the invitation” from Xi to visit China this October as part of the Chinese leader’s push to promote his Belt and Road Initiative, which he said has already gained international acclaim.

According to Putin, Xi’s vision is fully in line with the interests of both nations, as it “integrates our ideas about the creation of a greater Eurasian space.”

Commenting on the upcoming visit, Kremlin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov said that the groundwork for the trip was already being laid, but would not provide specific dates.

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The visit, which was first reported by Bloomberg in late August, was confirmed by Patrushev on Tuesday. At the time, he said that Moscow was looking forward to “substantial bilateral” talks between Putin and Xi in Beijing during the Belt and Road Forum. 

Earlier this month, China said that the event would be attended by representatives from 90 countries, including Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Argentine President Alberto Fernandez. 

The Belt and Road Initiative was first floated by Xi Jinping in 2013, with its goal being to foster infrastructure development and investment in Central Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Europe, and elsewhere. More than 150 countries and organizations have joined the project.

Putin’s last visit to China was in February 2022, shortly before the Ukraine conflict began. At the time, the two leaders stressed that the “friendship between the two states has no limits,” and “there are no ‘forbidden’ areas of cooperation.” Since the start of hostilities, China has refused to join Western sanctions against Russia, blaming NATO expansion for the crisis.

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