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Putin in China seeking support for his war in Ukraine

,President Vladimir Putin arrived in China on Thursday to meet his counterpart and "dear friend" Xi Jinping, whom he will try to convince to provide greater support; &agrav; the Russian war effort in Ukraine.

According to images broadcast on Russian television, the head of the Kremlin was greeted Thursday around 4:30 a.m. in Beijing (8:30 p.m. GMT Wednesday), when he got off his plane, by Chinese officials and a security guard. honor, before taking a seat in a black limousine.

This two-day visit marks Mr. Putin's first foreign trip since his re-election in March and his second in China in just over six months.

This Asian giant is a crucial economic lifeline for Russia, in the grip of heavy Western sanctions taken for punish for its military offensive in Ukraine.

Having just returned from a tour of France, Serbia and Hungary, Xi Jinping defended the right to maintain normal economic ties with his Russian neighbor. China benefits in particular from cheap Russian energy imports.

The two countries celebrated in early 2022, just before the outbreak of the invasion of Ukraine, a bilateral partnership described as “limitless”.

“This is Putin's first trip after his inauguration and it is therefore intended to show that Sino-Russian relations are moving up another level,” declared to AFP l independent Russian analyst Konstantin Kalachev.

“Without forgetting the visibly sincere personal friendship between the two leaders.”

But these close ties are viewed with growing suspicion among Westerners. The United States is thus threatening to sanction foreign companies, in particular banks, which work with Russia.

The Kremlin said this week that the two presidents would discuss “key areas of development of Russian-Chinese cooperation, while also exchanging their views on international and regional issues”.

– Red line –

In an interview with the official Xinhua news agency published on Wednesday, Vladimir Putin welcomed the “sincere desire” of Beijing to work to resolve the Ukrainian crisis.

China regularly calls for respect for the territorial integrity of all countries (implying Ukraine included) but also urges consideration of Russia's security concerns.

Washington has set a red line for Beijing – do not directly supply weapons to Russia – and says he has to date not had proof to the contrary.

But the United States believes that Chinese economic support still allows Russia to strengthen its production of missiles, drones and tanks.

Sino trade -Russian goods have exploded since the invasion of Ukraine and reached 240 billion dollars (222 billion euros) in 2023, according to Chinese customs.

Mais Chinese exports to neighboring Russia were significantly lower in March and April 2024 than in the January-February period, after threats from Washington to sanction financial institutions supporting the Russian war effort.

Because a decree signed in December by US President Joe Biden now authorizes secondary sanctions against foreign banks linked to the Russian war machine.

In short: the US Treasury can exclude them from the global financial system, based on the dollar.

– “Considerable difficulty” –

China is in any case seeking to renew its ties with the United States and could therefore be reluctant to want to strengthen its cooperation with Russia, despite the latter's expectations, according to analysts.

Several Chinese banks have thus interrupted or reduced their transactions with their Russian clients, according to eight nationals of the two countries involved in bilateral trade.

Banks “start from the principle that it is better to be prudent than to do something that you might later regret,” Alexander Gabuyev, director of the Carnegie Russia Eurasia Center, told AFP.

“Determining whether payments are linked to the Russian military-industrial complex (…) represents a considerable difficulty for Chinese companies, including banks”.

During this visit by Vladimir Putin, however, experts expect Moscow and Beijing to celebrate their partnership and sign several trade agreements.

The two leaders are also expected to issue a joint statement and attend an evening marking 75 years of diplomatic relations between their countries, according to the Kremlin.

Vladimir Putin must also meet Prime Minister Li Qiang then go to Harbin (north-east) on Friday to visit a fair dedicated to trade and investments.


All rights of reproduction and representation reserved. © (2024) Agence France-Presse

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116