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Chinese President Xi Jinping is set to visit France, Serbia, and Hungary next week as China seeks to play a larger role in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. Despite claiming neutrality in the conflict, China has been accused of supporting Russian weapon-making and bolstering Russia’s financial and technological ability to continue producing weapons. The United States will closely monitor Xi’s visits for any indications of diminishing support for U.S. foreign policy goals.

Xi’s visit comes at a time when global political and economic security has been upended by the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. China’s Foreign Ministry has stated that the visit will inject new momentum into the peaceful development of the world. China and Russia declared a “no limits friendship” before Russia’s attack on Ukraine, and China has refused to label the assault as an invasion, further raising concerns about its alignment with Russia.

The visits by Xi will take place from April 5 to April 10, with stops in France, Serbia, and Hungary. These visits will be closely watched by the United States for any signs of wavering support for crucial U.S. foreign policy goals. China’s relationship with Europe has been under scrutiny, especially after French President Emmanuel Macron’s comments last year indicating that France wouldn’t blindly follow the U.S. in getting involved in international crises.

China has built strong ties with Serbia, even making a semi-secret delivery of an anti-aircraft missile system to the country in 2022. In Hungary, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, who has close relations with Russia, has delayed Sweden’s entry into NATO. NATO expansion has been cited by China as a provocation for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Orbán has faced criticism from Swedish politicians over governance issues, which has strained relations between the two countries.

The visits by Xi come after U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken emphasized the need to manage differences between the United States and China responsibly. Tensions between the two countries have been high, with disagreements over various bilateral, regional, and global issues. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu praised military cooperation with China during a meeting with his Chinese counterpart, highlighting the importance of working together amid increasing tensions in various parts of the world.

As China expands its influence globally and seeks to play a larger role in international conflicts, the United States must remain vigilant and ensure that its foreign policy goals are supported by key allies. China’s alignment with Russia in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine raises concerns about the country’s intentions and its impact on global security and stability. The visits by Xi to France, Serbia, and Hungary will be closely watched for any signs of shifting alliances or support for contentious geopolitical issues.

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