Putin expects Chinese President Xi to visit soon, Xi keeps his line on Ukraine

Putin expects Chinese President Xi to visit soon, Xi keeps his line on Ukraine

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  • Putin’s remarks highlight a turn from the West to China
  • Both share a distrust of West
  • Xi’s reserved remarks contrasted with Putin’s upbeat tone
  • There is no sign from Xi of supporting the Russian invasion of 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 in a public show of solidarity from Beijing as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues. fails.

But an official Chinese testimony in a video summit between the two leaders highlighted the differences in approach to their developing alliance without mentioning a visit and stressed that Beijing, which has refused to support or condemn the invasion, would maintain its “objective and fair” position.

Since sending troops into Ukraine in February, Russia has turned its back on Western powers that rejected it economically and politically and armed Ukraine, courting instead the rising global power of longtime rival China.

“We are waiting for you, dear Mr. Chairman, dear friend, we are waiting for you next spring on a state visit to Moscow,” Putin told Xi in an extreme eight-minute opening statement broadcast on state television.

“This will demonstrate to the whole world the strength of Russian-Chinese ties on key issues.

He also said he aimed to boost military cooperation with China – although this was not mentioned in China’s state broadcaster CCTV’s report on the conversation.

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

The two men signed “no holds barred” strategic partnership in February, informed by a shared mistrust of the West, days before Russia sent its armed forces into Ukraine in what it called a “special military operation.”

The United States said after the call that it was “disturbed” from China’s alignment with Russia and reiterated that he had warned Beijing of the consequences if it provided Russia with military aid for its war against Ukraine or help to evade Western sanctions.

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

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing, China, February 4, 2022. Sputnik/Alexei Druzhinin/Kremlin via REUTERS

US officials have consistently said they have yet to see Beijing provide material support to Russia for the war, a move that could provoke sanctions against China.


As major Western economies responded to the invasion with an unprecedented, coordinated volley of sanctions, Russia was forced to seek other markets and overtook Saudi Arabia as China’s largest supplier of crude oil. Bilateral trade has jumped and financial ties are expanded.

On Friday, the Ministry of Finance of Russia doubled the maximum possible share of Chinese yuan in its National Wealth Fund (NWF) to 60% as Moscow tries to “de-dollarize” its economy and end dependence on “unfriendly” nations, including the United States, members of the European Union and Britain and Japan.

Moscow has also publicly backed Xi’s stance on Taiwan and accused the West of trying to provoke a 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, course and logic of the ongoing transformation of the global geopolitical landscape, facing unprecedented pressure and provocations from the West.”

However, Xi has been less vocal in his criticism of Western countries, which are China’s key export market, and has appeared cool about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

China refrained from condemnation, instead stressing the need for peace, but Putin publicly acknowledged in September that his Chinese counterpart had “concern” about Russia’s actions.

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

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

Reuters report; Additional reporting by Eduardo Baptista in Shanghai and Michael Martina in Washington; Written by Kevin Liffey; Editing by Andrew Havens, Tomasz Janowski and Nick McPhee

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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