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The Beijing-Moscow axis, a factor of “stability” and “peace” according to Xi and Putin

Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin defended the Beijing-Moscow axis on Thursday as a factor of "stability" and "peace" in the world, the Russian leader hoping for increased support from China to his war in Ukraine.

The China-Russia relationship “is not only in the fundamental interests of the two countries and two peoples, but it is also conducive to peace”, said Xi Jinping, during a meeting with his counterpart in Beijing.

And “China is ready to work with Russia to (…) support fairness and justice in the world.” “The China-Russia relationship today has been hard-won and both sides should cherish and nurture it,” he added.

This relationship is “a factor of stability on the international scene,” assured Vladimir Putin, according to the Kremlin. It “is not opportunistic and it is not directed against anyone”.

“Together we support the principles of justice and a democratic world order reflecting multipolar realities and based on international law,” he said.

After their bilateral meeting, the two men signed a joint communiqué to deepen the Sino-Russian “comprehensive strategic partnership”, according to the official Xinhua news agency.

– “Grateful” –

Vladimir Putin arrived in Beijing on Thursday morning for a two-day visit, his first trip abroad since his re-election in March and his second to China in one little more than six months.

The Beijing-Moscow axis, a factor of “stability” and “peace” according to Xi and Putin

Photo released by Russian state agency Sputnik of Chinese President Xi Jinping (d) and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin exchanging documents in Beijing, May 16, 2024 © POOL – Sergei BOBYLYOV

A few hours earlier, he had welcomed the advances of the Russian army in Ukraine.

In their joint statement on Thursday, Beijing and Moscow considers it “necessary” to avoid any decision contributing “to the prolongation of hostilities and a further escalation of the conflict”.

A formulation which seems to target Europeans and Americans, with China and Russia regularly asserting that it is the deliveries of Western arms to Ukraine which are prolonging the war.

The Asian giant is a crucial economic lifeline for Russia, prey to heavy Western sanctions.

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

Speaking to the press alongside Xi Jinping, Vladimir Putin said Thursday he was “grateful” to China for its peace “initiatives” in the crisis Ukrainian, according to Russian agencies.

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

– Red line –

“Both sides agree that a political solution to the crisis in Ukraine is the way forward,” said declared Mr. Xi to the press.

“China hopes that peace and stability will be quickly restored to the European continent and will continue to play a constructive role in this end”, he promised.

Moreover, Vladimir Putin considered “harmful” any “closed” political and military alliance in the Asia-Pacific, where his Chinese partner competes with the United States, which cooperates with Australia and the United Kingdom to counter Beijing's influence.

The Beijing-Moscow axis, a factor of “stability” and “peace” according to Xi and Putin

China imports Russian oil and gas © AFP – Nicholas SHEARMAN

The Russian president also met Thursday afternoon with Premier Li Qiang, who said Beijing wants to “continue to deepen cooperation in various fields” with Moscow.

These close Sino-Russian ties are viewed with growing suspicion in the West.

Washington has set a red line for Beijing – not directly supplying weapons to Moscow – and says it 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.

– Cautious banks –

Chinese-Russian trade has exploded since the invasion of Ukraine, exceeding 220 billion euros in 2023, according to Chinese customs.

Chinese exports to neighboring Russia, however, fell in March and April, after the threat of American sanctions.

Car an executive order signed in December by US President Joe Biden now authorizes secondary sanctions against foreign banks linked to the Russian war machine. The US Treasury can exclude them from the global financial system, based on the dollar.

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.

China is also seeking to renew its ties with the United States and should limit the strengthening of its cooperation with Russia, according to analysts.

Moscow and Beijing, however, signed several trade agreements on Thursday.

On Friday, Vladimir Putin must visit in Harbin (north-east) 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