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Russia open for negotiation, Xi wants more ‘cooperation’  The second day of Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to Moscow has seen the two leaders continue high-level talks. Xi has also invited Putin to visit Beijing this year.

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Moscow: Russian President Vladimir Putin met again with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on Tuesday during the latter’s visit to Moscow.

Xi was welcomed for talks with pomp and affair at the Grand Kremlin Palace as Russian soldiers dressed in 19th-century-style parade uniforms stood by. The importance of the Chinese premier’s visit was highlighted by the pageantry and displays of excess from Russia’s tsarist imperial past.

Putin, who has until now been finding itself increasingly isolated on the world stage in light of the war in Ukraine, said that the two leaders had signed major agreements expanding their strategic cooperation as well as increasing Russian energy supplies to China.

After two days of talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Vladimir Putin pledged even closer ties with Russia’s most powerful backer and hailed Beijing’s proposals for ending his war in Ukraine.

“Many of the provisions of the peace plan proposed by China are in line with Russian approaches and could be used as the basis for a resolution when Kyiv and the West are ready for it,” Putin said Tuesday.

However, Putin made the remarks in response to China’s “plan settle ongoing Ukraine crisis” on Monday as well.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, during a meeting with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping at the Kremlin said that his country is “always open for a negotiation process”.

Putin hailed the talks as “successful and constructive” after they concluded. Xi described the talks as “open and friendly.”

Earlier the two leaders had made remarks that were broadcast on Russian state TV.

The Russian president touted his country’s ability to feed China’s energy demands. “Russian business is able to meet China’s growing demand for energy carriers,” Putin said, adding that a new pipeline connecting the two was in the works that could in the future transport up to 50 billion cubic meters of gas per year.

Trade with China is an important replacement for Russia after losing lucrative deals with EU countries. China will get a discount on its energy purchases.

For his part, the Chinese leader talked about boosting working ties between the two neighbors. “I propose strengthening our coordination and cooperation,” Xi said. “The early harvest of [our] cooperation can be seen, and further cooperation is being advanced,” he added.

The plan aimed to “end the Russia-Ukraine war” was released by China in February. However, the US has warned it could be a “stalling tactic”, the BBC reported.

“The world should not be fooled by any tactical move by Russia, supported by China or any other country, to freeze the war on its own terms,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken was quoted as saying by the British broadcaster. 

“Calling for a ceasefire that does not include the removal of Russian forces from Ukrainian territory would effectively be supporting the ratification of Russian conquest,” Blinken added.

Talks between the two leaders lasted four and a half hours on Monday, according to Russian state news agency RIA Novosti. Further formal meetings are expected to follow on Tuesday.

Xi, who called Putin his “dear friend,” praised his Russian counterpart, saying the country’s development had “significantly improved”, CNN reported.

“Both sides exchanged in-depth views on the Ukraine issue,” reported Xinhua news agency, describing the leaders’ meeting as “in-depth and candid.”

The Chinese president, who is one of only a few world leaders to visit Moscow since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine last year, offered a reciprocated invitation to Putin to visit Beijing at a later point in the year.

“I invite you to visit China as soon as possible,” Xi said, while also extending the invite to Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin.

The invite comes shortly after the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Putin over the alleged deportation of children from Ukraine, but neither Russia nor China — nor even the US — recognises the court’s jurisdiction, meaning that a visit to Beijing would not put Putin in any danger.

Western backers of Ukraine have expressed concern that the increasing relations between Moscow and Beijing may be a sign that China is planning on sending weapons to Russia which could drag out the war in Ukraine.

                                                                             -Dr. M Shahid Siddiqui (PhD), Follow via Twitter @shahidsiddiqui

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