Russia’s Putin says he will consider China for his first trip in new term

By Thomson Reuters Mar 19, 2024 | 5:45 PM

(Reuters) – Russian President Vladimir Putin said late on Tuesday that he will consider China for his first overseas trip during his new presidential term that he secured in weekend election.

On Tuesday, Reuters exclusively reported that Putin will travel to China in May for talks with Xi Jinping, in what could be the Kremlin chief’s first overseas trip of his new presidential term.

Russia’s TASS state news agency reported that at a meeting with parliamentary factions on Tuesday the leader of the Communist Party, Gennady Zyuganov, asked Putin to choose Beijing for the trip.

“I hope that your first visit will be to the East, and not to the West. Comrade (Chinese President) Xi Jinping is waiting for you to visit, he loves our country very much,” TASS cited Zyuganov as saying.

Putin promised to consider the trip.

“I will definitely – without any jokes – take into account what you just said,” Putin responded with a smile, according to TASS.

Western governments lined up on Monday to condemn Putin’s landslide weekend election victory as unfair and undemocratic, but China and North Korea congratulated the veteran Russian leader on extending his rule by a further six years.

(Reporting by Lidia Kelly in Melbourne; Editing by Sandra Maler)