With Russia visit, Xi pursues effort to upend U.S.-led global order

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Fresh off a legislative congress where he cemented his vision for governing China, Xi Jinping turned to how he would create a better world order. It would be based on mutual respect, tolerance and equality — and China would be its natural leader, he told heads of political parties for an array of countries, including Russia and South Africa, Nicaragua and East Timor.

“Chinese-style modernization does not follow the old path of colonial plunder or the hegemony of strong countries,” Xi told them in a video call Wednesday, sitting at a desk surrounded by Chinese and Communist Party flags.

“The world does not need another Cold War,” he said, announcing his new concept — the “global civilization initiative,” a set of lofty guiding principles for a “new type of international relations” that China is building.

Xi’s comments were a clear rebuke of the United States — and a reflection of the harder tack he is taking as he ramps up China’s diplomatic efforts with an expected visit to Russia.

President Vladimir Putin said in December that he had invited Xi for a state visit in the spring. That trip could happen as soon as next week, Reuters reported Monday.

Xi is expected to have a phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky after that trip, according to the Wall Street Journal. It would be their first conversation since the war began.

This comes after China brokered an agreement to resume diplomatic ties between longtime rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran after a series of secret meetings held in Beijing, an announcement that surprised the Biden administration. On Monday, President Biden said he expected to have a call with Xi soon.