Putin Plans China Visit as a Russian Leader Joins a North Korea Celebration

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As part of Russia’s ongoing efforts to strengthen ties with Asian allies, President Vladimir V. Putin will travel to a conference in China in October, while the defense minister, Sergei K. Shoigu, will join a Chinese delegation at a celebration in North Korea this week, according to Russian state news media.

Mr. Putin will meet with Xi Jinping, China’s leader, to discuss bilateral trade and economic cooperation at an international forum, according to Tass, a Russian state news agency.

The relationship between China and Russia has deepened during the war in Ukraine, as both countries seek to counteract Western sanctions and curtail American power and influence. As trade with the West has diminished, China now provides an estimated 40 percent of Russia’s imports, much of it in goods like automobiles.

Mr. Xi and Mr. Putin most recently met in Moscow in March. Though Chinese officials framed it as a peace mission, U.S. officials said China was considering giving Russia weapons to use in Ukraine.

Days after the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant against Mr. Putin accusing him of war crimes in Ukraine — the same warrant deterring Mr. Putin from traveling to South Africa for a diplomatic summit in August — Mr. Xi invited Mr. Putin to visit China, underscoring Beijing’s support.

On Tuesday, a Russian military delegation headed by Mr. Shoigu arrived in North Korea, according to Tass. The Russian delegation will join a Chinese delegation led by Li Hongzhong, a member of the Political Bureau of the Chinese Communist Party, in Pyongyang to celebrate “Victory Day,” the 70th anniversary of what the North calls its triumph in the Korean War, which technically never ended.

The visit is the first by high-level foreign delegations to North Korea since the country shut its borders in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

North Korea has backed Russia in the Ukraine war. In May, Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader, sent Mr. Putin a letter saying that Russia would “smash all challenges and threats posed by hostile forces” under his leadership.

Washington has also accused North Korea of shipping weapons and ammunition to Russia, which both Russia and North Korea have denied. North Korea uses extensive Russian military equipment.

The North’s official Korean Central News Agency, in an English-language dispatch, said Mr. Shoigu’s visit will help strengthen friendly ties between the two countries “in keeping with the demand of the times.”

Sumber: www.nytimes.com

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