MOSCOW (AFP): Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin has arrived in China, Moscow’s foreign ministry said, for a visit in which he will meet with President Xi Jinping and ink a series of deals on infrastructure and trade.
Mishustin arrived late Monday in Shanghai, the ministry said, where he was greeted at the airport by Moscow’s ambassador to China Igor Morgulov and Beijing’s top diplomat to Russia Zhang Hanhui.
He will take part in a Russian-Chinese Business Forum and visit a petrochemical research institute in Shanghai, the Kremlin said, as well as hold talks with “representatives of Russian business circles”.
That forum has invited a number of sanctioned Russian tycoons — including from the key fertiliser, steel and mining sectors — as well as Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak, who handles energy issues, Bloomberg reported.
China last year became the top energy customer for Russia, whose gas exports had otherwise plummeted after a flurry of Western sanctions over the invasion of Ukraine.
Mishustin will then travel to Beijing, where he will meet with Xi and Premier Li Qiang, Russian state media TASS has said.
China and Russia have in recent years ramped up economic cooperation and diplomatic contacts, with their strategic partnership having only grown closer since the invasion of Ukraine.
While China says it is a neutral party in that war, it has refused to condemn Russia for the invasion.
In February, Beijing released a paper calling for a “political settlement” to the conflict, which Western countries said could enable Russia to hold much of the territory it has seized in Ukraine.
During a March summit in Moscow, Xi invited President Vladimir Putin to visit Beijing.
Analysts say China holds the upper hand in the relationship with Russia, and that its sway is growing as Moscow’s international isolation deepens.