Chinese President Xi Jinping turned election pundit at the beginning of high-profile state visit to Moscow on Monday and expressed confidence that Russians would back Vladimir Putin in next year’s presidential election.
Unsurprisingly, Xi made no reference to what happens to Putin’s political opponents.
“I know that next year there will be another presidential election in your country,” Xi told Putin at the start of talks in the Kremlin, the state-run TASS news agency reported. “Thanks to your strong leadership, Russia has made significant progress in achieving prosperity … in recent years. I am sure that the Russian people will strongly support Mr. President.”
Putin, 70, is widely expected to go for another term for the top job next year, whereas Xi, 69, just secured another presidential term less than two weeks ago by breaking Communist Party norms set out decades ago.
Xi became the first world leader to meet Putin after the Russian leader was issued an arrest warrant by the International Criminal Court last week over his role in what the court regards as illegal transfer of Ukrainian civilians to Russian soil.
Beijing questions the ICC’s move. “The ICC needs to take an objective and just position, respect the jurisdictional immunity of a head of state under international law, prudently exercise its mandate in accordance with the law, interpret and apply international law in good faith, and not engage in politicization or using double standards,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said Monday.
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