Xi Jinping’s visit to Moscow: what to expect?

The MFA of China confirmed the visit of the country’s leader Xi Jinping to Moscow, which will take place on March 20-23, 2023 at the invitation of the Russian president.

According to the press service of the Kremlin, during the meeting, topical issues of the further development of relations of comprehensive partnership and strategic cooperation between Russia and China will be discussed. Also, an exchange of views is planned in the context of deepening Russian-Chinese cooperation in the international arena, and a number of important bilateral documents will be signed, the Kremlin press service reported.

The peculiarity of the visit is that it takes place against the background of the continuation of the Russian-Ukrainian war, while the Ukrainian side is preparing for a counteroffensive and has a chance to achieve serious military victories on the battlefield this year. China, on the other hand, has stepped up and is trying to promote peace negotiations, and probably in this way to strengthen its influence in the world, as a constructive and peace-loving player.

What can Ukraine expect from Xi’s visit to Russia

For now, the visit is not expected to be a turning point in China’s stance on the war. In general, the position will remain the same as before – China will not provide significant military and technical assistance, but will support Russia economically, technologically, at the international level, and to a limited extent military-technically.

At the same time, the following results can be expected from the visit:

First, Xi Jinping can put forward initiatives aimed at ending hostilities and returning to peace talks between Ukraine and Russia. The recently published so-called “peace plan of China”, which was also supported by Russia, Belarus, Iran, Kazakhstan and other countries, can speak about this. In addition, Chinese senior government-affiliated experts actively promoted the need for peace talks between Ukraine and Russia during a recent closed-door discussion, indicating that China is currently focused on achieving a ceasefire between Ukraine and Russia.

At the same time, Chinese initiatives are not really aimed at achieving a long-term and just peace, but only at a temporary truce, as they do not provide for the withdrawal of Russian troops from the territory of Ukraine. Also, Russia has not given up its ambitions to establish control over all of Ukraine, so a pause on the battlefield will give Russia an opportunity to gain a foothold in the occupied territories, restore its forces and continue the military campaign.

Another result is the deepening of economic and technological relations between Russia and China. Russia, reorienting its energy exports from Europe to China, needs to improve the infrastructure of oil and gas delivery to China. Information received from Chinese experts indicates that China will strengthen economic cooperation with Russia. Also, it should not be ruled out that China will provide Russia with equipment for the enterprise, including a defense-industrial complex, which will provide Russia with the opportunity to manufacture and repair military equipment. The Chinese side will hide that the aid is aimed at strengthening Russia’s combat potential and will say about “normal economic cooperation”.

Thus, Xi Jinping’s visit to Moscow, taking into account China’s official peacemaking policy, will probably not have the consequences of a significant increase in China’s support for Russia, but will be aimed at creating conditions for negotiations between Ukraine and Russia. At the same time, the deepening of cooperation between China and Russia in the economic, technological, military-technical spheres cannot be ruled out, so far without a significant increase in China’s military-technical support to Russia.

Yurii Poita

Head of the Asian Section

He has been working as a Head of the Asia-Pacific Section at the Center for Army, Conversion and Disarmament Studies (Kyiv, Ukraine). Yurii also is a sinologist and member of the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine.

He studied at the Institute of International Relations of the Kyiv International University, the Wuhan Research Institute of Postal and Telecommunications (China), Zhytomyr Military Institute (Ukraine). At the moment Yurii is a PhD candidate at the Al-Farabi Kazakh National University.

He has experience in defense, international journalism, analytics and research.

Research interests: China’s influence in the post-Soviet space, “hybrid” threats to national security, Ukrainian-Chinese relations, the development of the situation in the Asia-Pacific and the Central Asian region.

He took part in a number of expert and scientific discussions in Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Israel, China and other countries. He has participated in research projects on the consequences of educational migration to China, interethnic conflicts and the protest potential of Kazakhstan, creation of a new Asian strategy of the MFA of Ukraine, study of Ukraine’s relations with the countries of Central and East Asia.

Speaks Ukrainian, Russian, English and Chinese.

Contact Us
March 2023
Translate »