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.

Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin
Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin attends a Russian-Chinese Business Forum in Shanghai on May 23, 2023. Photo: Dmitry Astakhov/Sputnik/AFP.

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.

On Tuesday there was an increased police presence around Shanghai’s Russian consulate and the nearby conference halls where the forum was taking place.

russia moscow kremlin
The Moscow Kremlin. Photo: Pedro Szekely, via Flickr.

Mishustin will next 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 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.

Support HKFP  |  Policies & Ethics  |  Error/typo?  |  Contact Us  |  Newsletter  | Transparency & Annual Report | Apps

Help safeguard press freedom & keep HKFP free for all readers by supporting our team

contribute to hkfp methods
YouTube video

Support press freedom & help us surpass 1,000 monthly Patrons: 100% independent, governed by an ethics code & not-for-profit.

Success! You're on the list.

AFP is a global news agency delivering fast, in-depth coverage of the events shaping our world from wars and conflicts to politics, sports, entertainment and the latest breakthroughs in health, science and technology.