China's top legislator Li Zhanshu will visit Russia next week, state media reported Sunday

China’s third leader to visit Russia next week

State media reported on Sunday that China’s top MP Li Zhanshu will visit Russia next week – Copyright AFP Leo RAMIREZ

State media reported on Sunday that China’s top MP Li Zhanshu will visit Russia next week, becoming the most senior Communist Party politician to visit the country since Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

Beijing and Moscow have grown closer in recent years, stepping up cooperation in what they call a “no limits” relationship, acting as a counterbalance to the global dominance of the United States.

Meanwhile, tensions between China and the West have risen as Beijing refused to condemn Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine and provided diplomatic cover by criticizing Western sanctions and arms sales to Kyiv.

Li, who is third in the Chinese government hierarchy, will make official visits to Russia, Mongolia, Nepal and South Korea from Wednesday to September 17, according to the official Xinhua news agency.

He will attend the Eastern Economic Forum, which will be held for four days from Monday in Vladivostok in Russia’s Far East, Xinhua reported.

Li, 72, is likely to step down from his position in the Communist Party at a landmark conference next month, where President Xi Jinping is expected to serve a third consecutive presidential term.

Xi himself has not left China since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in early 2020.

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