Putin grateful to Xi

allies. Chinese President Xi Jinping (left) and Russian President Vladimir Putin shake hands during their meeting in Beijing, China, on Thursday, May 16, 2024. /
allies. Chinese President Xi Jinping (left) and Russian President Vladimir Putin shake hands during their meeting in Beijing, China, on Thursday, May 16, 2024. / AP

BEIJING — Russia’s Putin expressed gratitude to Xi Jinping for China’s initiatives to resolve the Ukraine conflict at their Beijing summit Thursday where the Chinese leader said China hopes Europe will return to peace and stability soon and that China will play a constructive role.

China last year offered a broad plan for peace outlining general principles for ending the war in Ukraine and didn’t offer new specifics on how Beijing might be prepared to engage with both sides of the conflict.

“China hopes for the early return of Europe to peace and stability and will continue to play a constructive role toward this,” Xi said, speaking alongside Putin.

Putin said he will inform the Chinese leader in detail about “the situation in Ukraine” and said, “we are grateful for the initiative of our Chinese colleagues and friends to regulate the situation.”

China has significant influence as a key supporter of Russia following its invasion of Ukraine. It continues to supply Russia with key components that Moscow needs for its productions of weapons, and its purchase of Russian oil and gas has helped boost the Russian economy.

Before their remarks, the two leaders signed a joint statement on deepening the comprehensive strategic partnership between their two nations after their initial meeting. Xi said China and Russia will continue to uphold a position of non-alliance and non-confrontation.

Full military honors

Putin was greeted by Xi with full military honors at the Great Hall of the People, the massive seat of the ceremonial legislature sitting aside Tiananmen Square in the heart of the capital Beijing.

In their following meeting, Xi congratulated Putin on his election to a fifth term in office and celebrated the 75th anniversary of diplomatic relations forged between the former Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China after it swept to power in a civil war in 1949. Putin faced no credible opposition in the presidential race, and, like Xi, has not laid out any plans for any potential successors.

Xi said the two countries were furthering their relationship as “good neighbors, good friends, good partners,” according to state broadcaster CCTV, echoing their commitment to the “no limits” relationship they signed in 2022, just before Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

Since then, Russia has become increasingly economically dependent on China as Western sanctions cut its access to much of the international trading system. / AP

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