'Strategic cooperation': Xi heads to Moscow to meet with Putin

On Friday, Russia and China announced that the two nations' leaders would be meeting in Moscow for a three-day conference to discuss a variety of topics, namely future "strategic cooperation" between the regimes, and the ongoing war in Ukraine.

Chinese leader Xi Jinping has attempted to appear neutral in regards to the conflict, even going so far as to propose a 12-point peace plan. His failure to condemn the invasion and his affinity for Russia, however, have led many to caution against taking him at its word.

As NPR reports, Xi will be making his way to Moscow "at the invitation" of Putin, who said he hoped to discuss "issues of further development of comprehensive partnership and strategic interaction between Russia and China." In 2022, Xi declared that his nation's relationship with Putin's had "no limits."

The meetings will take place Monday to Wednesday of next week, with both leaders set to address the media on Tuesday. 

Putin has long sought China's support as his nation fight a war in which essentially every other country has allied itself with Ukraine. China, however, has not explicitly expressed support for one side or the other.

Beijing has claimed that the Chinese leader sought to  "an objective and fair position," and was committed to "promoting peace and advancing negotiations." Russia, on the other hand, has long maintained that the only way it will fulfill its goals in Ukraine is via ongoing armed conflict.

"When Xi goes to Moscow, he will be in listening mode with Putin," former US National Security Council director Dennis Wilder suggested. "If he is asked to open up a channel to Zelenskiy, I think Xi would be more than willing to take on that kind of role."

He warned that Xi may "feel compelled to help" Putin if the Russian leader says victory is not possible without Beijing's support.

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