China's leader Xi Jinping meets Putin in Moscow

Russia China
Posted at 10:51 AM, Mar 20, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-20 13:15:15-04

China's President Xi Jinping arrived Monday in Moscow for his first visit to Russia since his counterpart Vladimir Putin launched his invasion of Ukraine. Xi's visit was expected to last three days.

"I am confident that the visit will be fruitful and give new impetus to the healthy and stable development of China-Russia relations of comprehensive partnership and strategic cooperation in a new era," Xi said after arriving in Moscow, according to state-run Russian news agency Tass.

The Chinese leader was greeted by Putin, who commended China's growth in recent years, saying "we even envy you a little."

Putin also said that he had "carefully studied" China's proposal to end the war in Ukraine. That plan, which urges respect for the "sovereignty of all countries," does not call for a withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine.

"You are also aware that we are always open to the negotiation process. We will, of course, discuss all these issues, including your initiatives, which we treat with respect," Putin said.

"I expect that during the visit I will thoroughly exchange views with President Vladimir Putin on bilateral relations and important regional and international topics of mutual interest, and outline a plan for developing strategic interaction and practical cooperation," Xi said.

The Chinese leader's visit comes amid concerns that China may be preparing to provide lethal weapons to Russia for its war in Ukraine, which China denies. It also comes days after Putin was accused of war crimes, including orchestrating the forced removal of Ukrainian children to Russian territory, by prosecutors at the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that the two leaders would have an informal meal together on Monday, and that broader talks were scheduled for Tuesday.