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  • Writer's pictureDahlia Foundation

Vladimir Putin to meet Xi Jinping in Beijing: Five things to know

Russian President Vladimir Putin has arrived in Beijing and is scheduled to hold bilateral talks with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on Wednesday.

Ties between Russia and China have deepened in recent years, and Putin and Xi have developed a strong personal friendship. The two men last met in March in Moscow.

Putin’s trip to China during which he will take part in a forum to mark 10 years of the Belt and Road Initiative, is the first time this year that the Russian leader has travelled to a country beyond those that were once part of the former Soviet Union.

“(The) Russian delegation’s presence in Beijing is important for Moscow,” Alicja Bachulska, an expert on Chinese foreign policy at the European Council on Foreign Relations, told the AFP news agency.

“It will legitimise Russia in the international arena by creating a positive image of Putin not being completely isolated in the context of war.”

A deepening friendship …

Xi and Putin forged their friendship when the pair shared cake and vodka shots to mark the Russian leader’s birthday at a summit in Indonesia in 2013.

They have since drawn closer, with Xi accompanying Putin on a high-speed train ride across China to make traditional steamed buns five years later, and the two men eating caviar-topped blini during a river cruise when Xi later visited Russia.

In 2019, the Russian leader threw Xi a birthday party, surprising him with ice cream at a conference in Tajikistan.

On a visit to Moscow the same year, Xi told Russian media: “President Putin is the foreign colleague that I have interacted with most extensively. He is my best friend, and I greatly treasure our friendship.”

In an interview with Chinese state media ahead of the latest visit, Putin was effusive in his praise for Xi, praising the relevance and significance of Xi’s policies and vision of a multipolar world.

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