Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping will hold a virtual summit Wednesday following separate sitdowns with President Biden in recent weeks.
According to the Kremlin, the two leaders will discuss ongoing tensions in Eastern Europe amid a massive buildup of Russian forces along its border with Ukraine.
“The situation in international affairs, especially on the European continent, is very, very tense right now and requires discussion between allies,” said Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov, according to Reuters.
“We see very, very aggressive rhetoric on the NATO and US side, and this requires discussion between us and the Chinese,” he added.
Peskov went on to say that the meeting will also touch on issues including energy, trade and investment.
Both Moscow and Beijing have been at loggerheads with Washington in recent weeks. While the Ukraine issue dominated a virtual meeting between Biden and Putin last week, the US and China have exchanged sharp words on topics including Beijing’s territorial claims in the South China Sea and the status of Taiwan — with the Chinese government warning of a “face-off” over the issue in October.
During last week’s virtual meeting, Biden told Putin that any further incursion into Ukraine would be met with “strong economic measures” from the US and its European allies, emphasizing that Washington is prepared to take steps now that it did not take in 2014, when Russia annexed Crimea.
Biden also spoke with Xi last month in a diplomatic effort to ensure “competition” between the two nations “does not veer into conflict.”
“It seems to me we need to establish some common-sense guardrails. Be clear and honest where we disagree and work together where our interests intersect, especially on vital global issues like climate change,” the American president told his Chinese counterpart.
Biden then added, “If past is prologue, I’m sure that today we’ll be discussing those areas where we have concerns, from human rights to economics to ensuring a free and open Indo-Pacific.”
The two did not discuss the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic during the meeting but did talk about trade, human rights, Afghanistan, Iran, North Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Tibet, Xinjiang, “a free and open Indo-Pacific,” “health security,” “the climate crisis” and “global energy supplies,” according to a White House readout.
Russian and Chinese officials also came together last week to slam the White House’s Democracy Summit, calling it “an evident product of [the US’s] Cold-War mentality” that would “stoke up ideological confrontation and a rift in the world, creating new ‘dividing lines’” in a joint opinion article.