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Putin Goes to China in First Post-Re-election Visit: Agenda & Expected Takeaways

© Sputnik / POOL / Go to the mediabankRussian President Vladimir Putin and President of the People's Republic of China (PRC) Xi Jinping (right) on October 17, 2023.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and President of the People's Republic of China (PRC) Xi Jinping (right)  on October 17, 2023. - Sputnik International, 1920, 15.05.2024
Ahead of his state visit to China at the invitation of his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, newly re-elected Russian President Vladimir Putin Putin stressed in an interview with Xinhua News that relations between the two countries have reached an "unprecedented level."
Vladimir Putin will pay a state visit to the People's Republic of China on May 16-17 – his first foreign trip since he was sworn in as Russian President on May 7.
Putin’s meetings with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping and the Premier of China’s State Council Li Qiang will determine the "directions for further development of cooperation and discuss most pressing issues,” the Kremlin press service said in a statement.
In a written interview with Xinhua News Agency on the eve of the visit, Putin clarified that it was the "unprecedented level of strategic partnership" between Russia and China that determined the destination of his first foreign trip after taking office.
It is noteworthy that Chinese President Xi Jinping chose Russia for his first foreign visit after his own re-election in March 2023. At the time, the Chinese leader explained his choice as driven by “historical logic,” adding that the two countries were “major powers and strategic partners.”
So, what is on agenda and what to expect from Putin's visit to China?
Details of the state visit of the Russian leader to China were revealed by Kremlin aide Yury Ushakov during a briefing on May 14.
As part of the trip, Putin will visit two cities: the capital, Beijing, and Harbin, the administrative center of Heilongjiang Province in northeastern China, which borders five regions of the Russian Federation.
Putin will be accompanied by members of the newly-revised Russian government, as well as a business delegation.


In Beijing, an official ceremony will kick off the visit. Then the two sides will hold negotiations in narrow and expanded format. Putin and Xi will discuss in detail the entire range of issues of comprehensive partnership and strategic cooperation, including “sensitive” issues, during the narrow format sit-down.
Extended format talks will also involve First Deputy Prime Minister Denis Manturov, head of the Central Bank Elvira Nabiullina, Rosatom head Evgeny Likhachev and others from the Russian side. Following the talks, a joint statement by the heads of state is planned to be signed, as well as a number of bilateral documents.
Putin and Xi will also take part in a gala evening to mark the 75th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the countries, and the opening of the Russian-Chinese Cross Years of Culture in 2024-2025.
Also on Thursday, Putin is scheduled to have a separate meeting with Premier of the State Council of the People's Republic of China Li Qiang. Cooperation in the economic and humanitarian spheres will be discussed.
The most important issues of foreign policy cooperation will likely be discussed during the informal meeting of the two countries at an informal dinner on the evening of May 16, stressed Ushakov.
Putin will be accompanied by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, the new Russian Defense Minister Andrei Belousov, Russian Security Council Secretary Sergei Shoigu and Ushakov himself.
Linking the Eurasian Union integration processes with China’s Belt and Road initiative, cooperation within the BRICS framework, the Ukraine conflict, the conflagration in the Middle East, and developments in central and northeast Asia are all expected to feature on the agenda of the Russian-Chinese talks.
Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with China's President Xi Jinping at the Kremlin in Moscow on March 21, 2023 - Sputnik International, 1920, 15.05.2024
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The focal point of Putin’s itinerary in Harbin on May 17 will be the opening ceremonies of the eighth Russian-Chinese EXPO, and the fourth Sino-Russian forum on interregional cooperation.
Set to take place from May 16 to 21, the Russian-Chinese EXPO event is part of celebrations marking the 75th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Russia this year.
The expo will offer an exhibition area spanning 388,000 square meters, showcasing more than 5,000 products in over 20 major categories from 10 sectors. It is expected to attract over 5,000 professional buyers from more than 120 delegations representing 44 countries and regions, China Global Television Network (CGTN) reports. The host city of the China-Russia Expo alternates between the two countries.
© Photo : CFPScreenshot showing a poster of the eighth China-Russia Expo in Harbin, northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, May 8, 2024.
Screenshot showing a poster of the eighth China-Russia Expo in Harbin, northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, May 8, 2024.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 15.05.2024
Screenshot showing a poster of the eighth China-Russia Expo in Harbin, northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, May 8, 2024.
A broad lineup of Russian enterprises is to be featured, organized by Russia’s Ministry of Industry and Trade. Additionally, 16 Russian federal entities will present their businesses at the event, Chinese Commerce Ministry official Liu Xuesong said at a press conference.
Delegations from 25 Russian regions will take part in the fourth Sino-Russian forum on interregional cooperation on the side-lines of the Russia-China Expo in Harbin, head of the Russian trade mission in China Alexey Dakhnovsky said at a press conference.

Expected Results

Impressive results can be anticipated from Putin’s visit to China, Yuri Tavrovsky — head of the Expert Council of the Russian-Chinese Committee for Friendship, Peace and Development — told Sputnik.
He recalled that practically every top-level meeting between Russia and China in recent times had boasted takeaways of global scale significance.
Firstly, large-scale agreements and documents on cooperation in a variety of areas are expected. Furthermore, important political decisions and agreements are likely to be reached between the two leaders in narrow-format informal negotiations, he noted.
When Putin and Xi met on the sidelines of the Third Belt and Road Forum (BRF) in late 2023, new agreements were reached in infrastructure, trade, and technological interaction, he recalled. The two leaders intend to meet again at the SCO and BRICS summits.

“Putin’s current trip to China, allowing the two leaders to “sit down and talk in detail with each other, ‘synchronize watches’ and ‘agree on military coordination’ is very important, not only for Moscow and Beijing, but also for the entire international community,” Tavrovsky stressed.

According to the expert, there is no denying that interaction between the two global powers can “help safeguard the world from global military conflicts.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and Chinese President Xi Jinping shake hands after speaking to the media during a signing ceremony following their talks at The Grand Kremlin Palace, in Moscow, Russia, March 21, 2023 - Sputnik International, 1920, 14.05.2024
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