Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in Beijing on Tuesday in anticipation of his meeting with Chinese leader Xi Jinping, scheduled for Wednesday, October 18. This meeting will take place on the sidelines of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) forum.
Putin is amongst the representatives of 130 nations attending the forum, but he is all set to further strengthen his already strong partnership with Xi, in the wake of new geopolitical challenges induced by the ongoing Israel-Hamas war.
As of now, both sides have refrained from sharing any details but it is expected that “special attention will be paid to international and regional issues,” according to a statement from the Kremlin.
Experts see this visit by Putin as more a symbolic gesture and don’t expect any high-publicity deal. “Russia is aware that China doesn’t want to sign any high publicity deals,” Alexander Gabuev, director of the Carnegie Russia Eurasia Center was quoted as saying by AFP.
For China, Russia continues to be one of its few allies acting as a bulwark against the West. Meanwhile, for Moscow, Beijing has increasingly become a reliable trading and geopolitical partner, especially after its invasion of Ukraine.
“Since Moscow embarked on its all-out invasion of Ukraine, it has been put in a position where it is unprecedentedly dependent on China,” Bjorn Alexander Duben of China’s Jilin University was quoted as saying by AFP.
Lavrov- Wang meeting
Earlier on Monday, the top diplomats of China and Russia met in Beijing and discussed their bilateral ties “in their entirety”. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov thanked his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi for inviting Putin as “Chief Guest” to the BRI summit.
Wang, in turn, said China “appreciates” Russia’s support for the Belt and Road Initiative.
“Both sides should plan commemorative activities, deepen strategic mutual trust, consolidate traditional friendship, and promote friendship from generation to generation,” he said.
On Israel-Hamas war
As the Israel-Hamas war rages on, the topic is expected to come up in talks between the top leaders of Russia and China.
Both nations have failed to condemn Hamas for its deadly terror attacks on Israel and share extremely amicable ties with Iran, a major backer of the terrorist outfit.
Russia has expressed its willingness to help both warring parties reach a peaceful settlement. The Kremlin on Monday (Oct 16) said it was willing to work towards “ending the Palestinian-Israeli confrontation and achieving a peaceful settlement through political and diplomatic means”.