Putin expects China’s Xi to visit soon, with Xi holding his line in Ukraine

  • Putin’s views center on China from the West
  • Both share a distrust of the West
  • Xi’s reserved comments contrasted with Putin’s upbeat tone
  • There was no sign from Xi of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine
  • The US is concerned about China’s alliance with Russia

Dec 30 (Reuters) – Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Friday he expected Chinese President Xi Jinping to make a state visit early next year, a public event from Beijing, amid Russia’s failed invasion of Ukraine.

But the official Chinese reading of the video summit between the two leaders highlighted differences in approach to their developing alliance, made no mention of a visit and Beijing, which refused to support or condemn the invasion, insisted it would “maintain its objective and fair position”. ” position.

Since sending troops into Ukraine in February, Russia has turned against Western powers that have marginalized it economically and politically, arming Ukraine in favor of long-time rival China’s rising global power.

“Dear Mr. President, dear friend, we are waiting for you, we expect you to come to Moscow next spring on a state visit,” Putin told Xi in an eight-minute introductory statement broadcast on state television.

“It will demonstrate the strength of Russian-Chinese relations on key issues to the entire world.”

He also said he was aiming to increase military cooperation with China — something that was not mentioned in a report on the call by Chinese state broadcaster CCTV.

Although Xi called Putin his “dear friend,” his introductory statement, a quarter of Putin’s length, was more pragmatic in tone.

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The two signed a “no limits” strategic partnership in February, heralded by the West’s shared mistrust, just days before Russia sent its armed forces into Ukraine.

After the call the US said it was “concerned” by China’s cooperation with Russia and reiterated that it had warned Beijing of the consequences if it provided military aid to Russia for its war against Ukraine or helped circumvent Western sanctions.

“We are closely monitoring Beijing’s activity,” a State Department spokesman said. “Beijing claims to be neutral, but its behavior makes clear it is still investing in closer ties with Russia.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing, China on February 4, 2022. Sputnik/Alexei Truzhinin/Kremlin via REUTERS

U.S. officials have continued to say that Beijing still does not see Russia providing material support for the war, a move that could trigger economic sanctions against China.

Business is booming

As major Western economies responded to the invasion with an unprecedented, coordinated barrage of sanctions, Russia has been forced to seek other markets, and has overtaken Saudi Arabia as a supplier of crude to China. Bilateral trade has risen and financial ties have expanded.

On Friday, Russia’s Finance Ministry doubled the maximum share of the Chinese yuan in its National Wealth Fund (NWF) to 60%, as Moscow seeks to “dollarize” its economy and end its dependence on “unfriendly” countries, including the US and Europe. Union members and Britain and Japan.

Moscow has publicly supported Xi’s stance on Taiwan and accused the West of trying to foment conflict over the status of the self-governing island, which China claims as its own.

Putin told Xi: “You and I share the same views on the causes, trend and logic of the current change in the global geopolitical landscape, facing unprecedented pressure and provocations from the West.”

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However, Xi has been less vocal in his criticism of the West, which is China’s main export market, and appeared cool on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

China avoided condemnation, instead emphasizing the need for peace, but in September Putin publicly admitted to his Chinese counterpart that he was “concerned” about Russia’s actions.

However, Xi told Putin on Friday that China was ready to increase strategic cooperation with Russia against the backdrop of what he called a “difficult” situation in the world.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the meeting was substantive and constructive, but no date has yet been set for Xi’s visit.

Reported by Reuters; Additional reporting by Eduardo Baptista in Shanghai and Michael Martina in Washington; Written by Kevin Liffey; Editing by Andrew Heavens, Tomasz Janowski and Nick MacPhee

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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