President Vladimir Putin will meet China’s Xi Jinping for talks in Beijing in October, Russia said on Tuesday, Putin‘s first known trip abroad since an arrest warrant was issued against him over the deportation of children from Ukraine.
Nikolai Patrushev, a close Putin ally and the secretary of Russia’s Security Council, said Russia and China should deepen cooperation in the face of the West’s attempt to contain them both.
He was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying that the talks in Beijing would be “thorough,” at a meeting in Moscow with China’s top diplomat, Wang Yi.
Putin will attend the third Belt and Road Forum after an invitation by Xi during a high-profile visit to Moscow in March.
Days before that visit, the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued a warrant for Putin‘s arrest on suspicion of illegally deporting hundreds of children or more from Ukraine.
Moscow denies the allegations and the Kremlin said the warrant was evidence of the West’s hostility to Russia, which opened a criminal case against the ICC prosecutor and the judges who issued the warrant.
Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine early last year has triggered one of the deadliest European conflicts since World War Two and the biggest confrontation between Moscow and the West since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.
Putin has pivoted toward China, and Xi has stood by him.
Chinese-Russian trade has soared since the invasion, and Russia has sold Asian powers including China greater volumes of the oil it can no longer sell to the West because of sanctions.
Putin last visited Beijing in February 2022, days before the invasion, where he and Xi announced a “no limits” partnership. Moscow says this does not mean a military alliance, however.
Putin and Xi share a broad world view, which sees the West as decadent and in decline just as China challenges U.S. supremacy in everything from technology to espionage and military power.
Trade between Russia and China soared 30 percent in the first half of this year and will rise to more than $200 billion in 2023, Russian economy minister Maxim Reshetnikov said on a visit to China.
“We are actively developing investments, including in our large gas and petrochemical projects, where we actively use Chinese technologies,” Reshetnikov said.
“We are strongly interested in transforming technological cooperation into investment cooperation, so that Chinese companies actively enter into these projects, invest in capital, and lend money, because the projects are capital-intensive and not all of them can be fully provided for by the Russian financial system.”
The United States sees China as its gravest long-term “strategic competitor” and Russia as an “acute threat.”
China has refrained from condemning Russia’s operation against Ukraine or calling it an invasion, in line with the Kremlin, which casts the war as a “special military operation.”
Earlier this year, CIA director William Burns said Russia was becoming more and more dependent on China and was even at risk of becoming its “economic colony” in time.
(Reporting by Reuters; editing by Guy Faulconbridge, Kevin Liffey and Christina Fincher)