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Xi Jinping receives Vladimir Putin and welcomes a relationship “conducive to peace”

Photo: Vyacheslav Oseledko archives Agence France-Presse Russian President Vladimir Putin (right) and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping (back left) during a meeting in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, June 14, 2019

James Edgar – Agence France-Presse and Olivier Hotham – Agence France-Presse in Beijing

Published yesterday at 9:08 p.m. Updated at 1:03 a.m.

  • Asia

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday hailed the Beijing-Moscow relationship as “conducive to peace” during a meeting in Beijing with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, ostracized by Western countries since his invasion of Ukraine.

The China-Russia relationship “is not only in the fundamental interests of the two countries and two peoples, but is also conducive to peace,” said Xi Jinping , saying he was ready to strengthen these ties according to comments reported by the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

This relationship is a factor of “stability”, estimated for his part the Russian leader, according to Russian media. It “is not opportunistic and it is not directed against anyone”.

Vladimir Putin arrived in the Chinese capital at dawn on Thursday, hoping to convince his “dear friend” Xi Jinping to provide greater support for the Russian war effort in Ukraine.

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

The Asian giant is a crucial economic lifeline for Russia, plagued by heavy Western sanctions taken to punish it for its military offensive in Ukraine.

A few hours before his departure, Vladimir Putin welcomed the advances in Ukraine by the Russian army which claimed the capture of several localities in the Kharkiv region (north-east).

«Without limits»

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 had celebrated at the beginning of 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 is therefore intended to show that Sino-Russian relations go up another level,” independent Russian analyst Konstantin Kalachev told AFP.

“Without forgetting the visibly sincere personal friendship between the two leaders.” , underlines Mr. Kalachev.

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

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

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

These close links are viewed with growing suspicion among many Western countries.

Washington has set a red line for Beijing – not directly supplying weapons to Russia – 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.

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 fell in March and April, after Washington threatened to sanction financial institutions supporting the Russian war effort.

Car Executive order 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 from the global financial system, based on the dollar.

Prudent banks

China is seeking to renew its ties with the United States anyway 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 careful than to do something 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 Vladimir Putin's visit, however, experts expect Moscow and Beijing to celebrate their partnership and sign several trade agreements.

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

Vladimir Putin is also scheduled to meet with Premier Li Qiang and then go to Harbin (north-east) on Friday to visit a fair dedicated to trade and investments.

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