Putin visits 'dear friend' Xi in show of no-limits partnership

Mr. Putin has travelled little abroad since the Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for him in March, accusing him of illegally deporting children from Ukraine

October 17, 2023 07:33 am | Updated 08:26 am IST - BEIJING

Mr. Putin and his entourage flew into the Beijing Capital International Airport on Tuesday morning, according to Reuters video footage, in the Kremlin chief’s first official trip outside of the former Soviet Union this year. File

Mr. Putin and his entourage flew into the Beijing Capital International Airport on Tuesday morning, according to Reuters video footage, in the Kremlin chief’s first official trip outside of the former Soviet Union this year. File | Photo Credit: Reuters

Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in Beijing on Tuesday to meet with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on a widely watched trip aimed at showcasing the deep mutual trust and "no-limits" partnership between China and its giant neighbour.

Mr. Putin and his entourage flew into the Beijing Capital International Airport on Tuesday morning, according to Reuters video footage, in the Kremlin chief's first official trip outside of the former Soviet Union this year.

Mr. Putin has travelled little abroad since the Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for him in March, accusing him of illegally deporting children from Ukraine. Mr. Putin visited Kyrgyzstan, a former Soviet republic, earlier this month.

The ICC's move obliges the court's 123 member states to arrest Putin and transfer him to The Hague for trial if he sets foot on their territory. Neither Kyrgyzstan nor China are members of the ICC, established to prosecute war crimes.

Mr. Xi last saw his "dear friend" in Moscow just days after the warrant was issued. At the time, Xi invited Putin to attend the third Belt and Road forum in Beijing, an international cooperation forum championed by the Chinese leader. Putin will meet with Xi on Wednesday.

Beijing has rejected Western criticism of its partnership with Moscow even as the war in Ukraine showed no sign of ceasing, insisting that their ties do not violate international norms, and China has the right to collaborate with whichever country it chooses.

Mr. Putin last visited China for the Beijing Winter Olympics in February 2022 when Russia and China declared a "no-limits" partnership days before the Russian president sent tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine.

It would be Mr. Putin's third attendance of the Belt and Road Forum, which runs through Wednesday. He attended the two previous forums in 2017 and 2019.

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