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Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin call for ‘political solution’ to Ukraine war – BBC News


  1. Analysis

    Laura Bicker

    China correspondent in Beijing

    ReutersCopyright: Reuters

    The Chinese President Xi Jinping and his guest President Vladimir Putin will enjoy a concert together as they end their day of warm words about “deepening their partnership”.

    But the language from Beijing has not reached the lofty heights of Moscow’s initial statement, which claimed the relationship was at an “unprecedented” level.

    Instead, Xi told his Russian counterpart that he cherished the relationship and wanted to nurture it. This will be welcome news to Putin as China has become his lifeline after the West imposed sanctions over the invasion of Ukraine.

    A strong show of unity has been on display, with Xi saying China is willing to support the “rejuvenation of our respective countries”, while Putin has said their joint co-operation was a “stabilising factor” in the world.

    These statements surely aim to challenge the US-led world order, but will be met with derision in the West where Putin is being investigated as a war criminal.

    Xi says he is willing to be a good friend to Russia, but he also has his own priorities. Washington stands ready to impose sanctions on Beijing if it continues to help Russia’s war machine.

    Yes, he has rolled out the red carpet for his comrade, complete with Red Army songs. And yes, the two stood shoulder-to-shoulder in the sunshine of Tiananmen Square.

    But if Putin wants more from this relationship, it might be more than Xi is willing to give when China is relying on exports to revive its sluggish economy.

  2. We now are ending our live coverage of the first day of President Vladimir Putin’s two-day visit to China – his first international visit since securing a fifth term in March.

    The Russian president and Chinese leader praised their friendship and deep ties in a joint appearance before the media, while Putin directly thanked Xi for his efforts to resolve the “Ukraine crisis”.

    This page was written by Frances Mao, Lana Lam, Yvette Tan, Kelly Ng, Jaroslav Lukiv, Aoife Walsh and Fan Wang and was edited by Ayeshea Perera, Emily McGarvey, Aparna Alluri and Johanna Chisholm. Thank you for joining us.

  3. Here’s a look at some more scenes from today’s meeting between Chinese leader Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Beijing – the Russian leader’s first international visit since the start of his fifth presidential term.

    There was a grand welcoming ceremony as well as a joint news briefing.

    Putin is due to meet with Xi later tonight in an informal meeting before travelling onward to Harbin in north-east China tomorrow.

    ReutersCopyright: Reuters
    ReutersCopyright: Reuters

    The two leaders exchanged bilateral documents during a meeting in Beijing.Image caption: The two leaders exchanged bilateral documents during a meeting in Beijing.

    ReutersCopyright: Reuters
  4. As we’ve been covering, a large portion of the meeting between Putin and Xi focused around the two countries’ trade relationship.

    That came into much sharper focus after sanctions on Russia led Western companies to close-up shop in Russia, leading Beijing to become
    Moscow’s key supplier of cars, clothing, raw materials, and other products.

    Since the war in Ukraine, two-way
    trade between China and Russia has ballooned. From
    2021, the year before the conflict started, it grew 64% to $240bn (£189bn) in
    2023.

    But the
    numbers alone don’t provide the full picture.

    Some experts say the trade
    relationship is “lopsided”, with Moscow being more dependent on
    Beijing. In 2023, China became Russia’s top trading partner, while Russia is
    China’s sixth-largest trade partner.

    It is
    notable though that the export of Chinese cars and relevant components to
    Russia surged to $23bn (£18bn) in 2023, according to China’s Customs statistics.

    As China
    boosts its EV industry, Moscow has become a top destination for
    the glut of gasoline-fuelled models that Beijing’s domestic market no longer
    needs.

  5. Analysis

    Stephen McDonell

    Reporting from Beijing

    ReutersCopyright: Reuters

    The Biden
    administration has accused the Chinese government of supplying significant,
    direct, and material assistance for Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

    Now this
    trip to China is also providing moral support for an increasingly isolated
    Russian leader who can’t travel to many countries for risk of being arrested
    and sent to the International Criminal Court.

    While
    here, Putin can present himself to his own people as having the
    appearance of a statesman rather than that of a pariah.

    In midst of an ongoing and bloody war, Putin reportedly told his Chinese counterpart: “Our cooperation in world affairs is one of the main stabilising
    factors on the international stage. Together we defend the principles of
    fairness and the democratic world order.”

    China’s
    leader responded that they together “uphold justice in the world”.

  6. Analysis

    Laura Bicker

    China correspondent in Beijing

    As we’ve just mentioned, Putin is scheduled to travel to the most Russian city in China
    tomorrow, the north-eastern hub of Harbin.

    There
    he will visit a China-Russia trade fair to underscore the strength of economic links
    between the two countries.

    Harbin
    once had the nickname of “Little Moscow” and was founded by Russian settlers in
    the 1900’s.

    Although much of the Orthodox-style architecture has gone, it still
    has the imposing St Sophie Cathedral at the centre of the city.

    Tourists
    flock there for the annual Ice and Snow Festival and some dress up in
    fairytale-like costumes and pose in front of the cathedral.

    The city of Harbin itself conducts a lot of trade with Russia and some of the ten
    million people living there choose to learn Russian. Putin will surely feel at
    home.

    This will serve as a way of showing off the shared history, shared ties and
    shared ideology between the two countries.

  7. SPUTNIK/KREMLIN POOL/EPA-EFE/REX/ShutterstockCopyright: SPUTNIK/KREMLIN POOL/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock

    It’s now just after 16:00 in Beijing and just after 09:00 in London. If you are just joining us, here’s a quick recap on the main developments over the past few hours:

    • At a joint news briefing, both Chinese leader Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin praised a “strategic” relationship between their two countries
    • The Chinese president said Beijing and Moscow agreed there should be a “political solution” to the Russia-Ukraine war, without giving any details. China’s peace proposals unveiled last year have been criticised by both Kyiv and its Western allies
    • Putin said he would inform Xi about “the situation around the Ukrainian crisis” during their informal meeting in the evening
    • China and Russia also hailed their growing bilateral trade, signing a series of new agreements
    • Putin arrived in Beijing early on Thursday in what is his first state visit overseas since winning his fifth term in office last March, an election that was widely criticised by the West as undemocratic
    • The Kremlin leader was welcomed in a grand ceremony that featured military march pasts, a band playing Soviet songs and children cheering with pompoms
    • Putin is next heading to Harbin on Friday, a city in China’s north-east known for its rich cultural and historic ties with Russia
  8. Analysis

    Laura Bicker

    China correspondent in Beijing

    The war in Ukraine does not dominate discussions around Chinese
    dinner tables.

    Many believe the Russian state media narrative that it had no choice
    and had to invade Ukraine to combat Nato expansion.

    Pro-Russian voices are still very strong in China and sympathy for Ukraine is not
    easy to find on its highly-censored media. But some are trying to change
    that.

    Ukrainian Vita
    Golod speaks fluent Mandarin and is part of a team that translates news about
    the war to put out on Chinese social media.

    “We wanted to
    let people know the truth about this war, because we knew at the time there
    were no Ukrainian media agencies or outlets in China,” she tells the BBC on
    a visit to Beijing.

    “People in
    Ukraine are still suffering, they are still hiding in shelters, still bleeding
    in trenches. Ukraine needs sanctions on Russia, not beautiful words.”

    So far, her work has
    not been censored, which implies some tolerance by the Chinese government.

  9. Earlier, we reported on how Russia’s President Putin said he welcomed Chinese carmakers in Russia. It’s a significant statement
    because it comes just days after the US announced it is quadrupling tariffs on
    China’s electric vehicles to 100%.

    The
    export of Chinese cars and parts to Russia had already been rising sharply. It hit $23bn (£18bn) in 2023, almost four times as much as the previous year.

    “Russian
    natural gas is fuelling numerous Chinese households, and Chinese-made
    automobiles are running on Russian roads,” China’s Foreign Minister
    Wang Yi said last month.

  10. As we mentioned earlier, Xi had said China and Russia agree on a “political solution” to the war in Ukraine.

    “China’s position on this issue has been clear and consistent, including adherence to the purposes and principles of the UN Charter,” he said.

    “China hopes to see the early restoration of peace and stability in Europe.”

  11. Putin and Xi have finished their news conference without taking questions from the media.

    We’ll be wrapping up some of the key lines here, so stay with us.

  12. President Putin confirms he discussed the war in Ukraine with the Chinese president.

    “There is no space for closed alliances in Asia,” he says.

    He also says he thanked China for its negotiations over Ukraine, adding: “We are grateful to China for its efforts to resolve the Ukraine crisis” adding that both sides wanted a “political settlement to the crisis”.

  13. We can bring you some more lines now from President Putin’s speech.

    He says that Russia and China’s “approaches to many global and regional problems” are similar.

    “We both carry out independent foreign policies,” he says.

    “Our countries are calling for global institutions to be de-politicised.”

  14. Xi ends his speech with praising “75 years of persistent accumulation of ever-lasting friendship and all-round cooperation” between the two countries.

    It has become a powerful driving force to move forward despite “the wind and the rain”, the Chinese president says.

    He adds that the two countries would always adhere to their original aspirations, bring benefits to their citizens and make “due contributions” to the stability of the world.

  15. Xi also comments on the Israel-Gaza war.

    China earlier talked about a two-state solution and Xi repeated that today, saying it was the only option for lasting regional piece.

    He says both he and the Russian president agreed that resolving the situation in Israel and Gaza was of “utmost urgency”.

    “A new security framework has to be established in relation to the Israel-Gaza war”, Xi says.

  16. “We welcome Chinese carmakers in our market,” Putin tells the news conference now.

    Beijing has become Moscow’s key supplier of cars, clothing and many other products, after Western countries imposed sanctions on Russia.

    As China boosts its electric vehicles industry, Russia has become a top destination for the gut of gasoline-fuelled models that Beijing’s domestic market no longer needs.

    ReutersCopyright: Reuters

    As Beijing boosts its electric vehicle industry domestically, Moscow has become a top destination for petrol modelsImage caption: As Beijing boosts its electric vehicle industry domestically, Moscow has become a top destination for petrol models

  17. Putin says now that both countries were “deepening peaceful nuclear cooperation”, but did not give any more information.

    He says that there were “concrete plans for deepening energy cooperation”, adding that energy was one of Russia’s “priorities”.

  18. Putin is still speaking.

    He thanks his Chinese colleagues for a “warm” and “friendly” reception, adding that the talks were “pragmatic”.

    He also touches on issues of trade, saying that Russia has increased food exports to China.

    Putin says that Russia’s priorities were trade and investment, and that the share of yuan and rouble in Russian trade with Chinese had exceeded 90%.

  19. Before he handed the mic over to Putin, President Xi Jinping also spoke about the increased trade numbers between China and Russia.

    He says that cooperation would be the driving force to build a new pattern of mutual benefit.

    Xi adds that he and Putin both agreed the two countries needed to actively find a convergence of interests.

    He says they would also work to build the foundation for a network of scientific cooperation, and maintain the stability of the global industrial and supply chains.

  20. Russia’s President Putin is now speaking. He says it is only “logical” that his first foreign trip since assuming the presidency is to China, according to a translation by Reuters.

    Putin says that his partnership with China is an example of how relations should work, adding that he is in constant contact with Xi.