The meeting comes as China hosts a forum for President Xi’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a project that aims to expand China’s global influence.
President Putin’s visit is significant as it marks his first trip to a major global power since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine resulted in international isolation.
The summit, scheduled for Wednesday, is expected to focus on international and regional issues.
Experts view the meeting as a symbolic gesture of support for Moscow, with Russia being increasingly seen as the junior partner in the relationship.
“China holds all of the cards,” said Alexander Gabuev, director of the Carnegie Russia Eurasia Center.
The Kremlin announced that the two leaders would meet “on the sidelines” of the BRI forum.
While global attention is dominated by Israel’s war with Hamas, China has faced criticism for not naming Hamas in its statements on the Israel-Gaza conflict.
China’s warm relationship with Iran, which supports both Hamas and Hezbollah, has been a concern for Western officials.
This year, China played a role in brokering an entente between Iran and Saudi Arabia, who were former regional foes.
China’s special envoy Zhai Jun is set to visit the Middle East to advocate for a ceasefire and peace talks, although the exact destinations of his visit have not been disclosed.
China and Russia share a strong alliance with China appreciating Russia’s role as a counterbalance to the West, while Russia increasingly relies on China for trade and geopolitical support.
The relationship between Presidents Putin and Xi Jinping is at the core of this partnership. Both leaders have described each other as “dear friends.”
Putin stated before his visit, “President Xi Jinping calls me his friend, and I call him my friend, too.”
This summit between Russia and China reinforces their commitment to a mutually beneficial relationship amidst changing global dynamics.