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Putin and Xi Jinping defy US by announcing they will strengthen military ties

Putin and Xi Jinping defy US by announcing they will strengthen military ties

 


Russia and China will deepen their military ties, expanding their armies’ joint exercises, and will work together against “destructive and hostile American pressure.” That's the conclusion of a 7,000-word joint statement that Presidents Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping signed in Beijing on Thursday.

The two leaders, demonstrating a very good song in public With gestures of complicity and continuous flattery, they wanted to convey a message of unity to the West, with several messages particularly addressed to the United States. “The parties reiterate their serious concern over American attempts to modify the strategic security balance in the region,” underlines the Russian version of the press release.

Putin and Xi, in their statement, condemn what they call “US nuclear missile deployments” which threatened both countries. They also attacked regional alliances, such as Aukus, which Washington forms with the United Kingdom and Australia. “Moscow and Beijing will strengthen their coordination to counter Washington’s destructive trajectory towards the double containment of our countries,” the letter reads.

Vladimir Poutine landed at 4:30 a.m. Goodshortly before dawn in the capital of China. He was greeted on the tarmac by the honor guard and a group of senior Chinese officials. Climbing into the Aurus Senat, his armored limousine, he crossed a highway toward the center of the city bathed in Chinese and Russian flags along the sides.

By choosing China for his first state trip abroad since taking office, Putin intends to send a clear message to the rest of the world: he continues to strengthen the partnership with his friend. Xi Jinping challenge the US-led global order while Moscow manages to strengthen its economic resilience and advance its war in Ukraine.

While Putin boasts of the friendships and the consolidation of the “limitless” partnership he signed with Xi shortly before launching the invasion, the Chinese president continues to juggle economically supporting his Russian partner while seeking to maintain optimal relations with European powers and to reduce tensions. with Washington. Xi makes no secret of his growing geostrategic alignment with the Kremlin, but he does so without breaking with the West.

Putin (71 years old) and Xi (70 years old) already They met face to face up to 43 times since the Chinese leader took power in 2013. Since the invasion of Ukraine began, Putin has visited Beijing twice, most recently just seven months ago to attend a summit on the new Silk Road, the Chinese president's mega infrastructure project. Xi, for his part, visited Moscow in March last year.

The two leaders met Thursday morning at the Great Hall of the People in Tiananmen Square. At the door of the hall, the host received Putin with a welcome ceremony during which the Russian flag was raised and an orchestra played the national anthems of the two countries. The Chinese leader was accompanied by his entire cabinet. On the Russian side, it is surprising that among the delegation accompanying him is Sergei Shoigu, who has just been replaced as Minister of Defense of Russia – he is now Secretary of the Security Council – but who remains a useful part of this trip. because he maintains very good relations with senior Chinese military commanders.

Along with Putin, new Defense Minister Andrei Belousov, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and foreign policy advisor Yuri Ushakov also appeared on the red carpet. The Russian leader also arrived supported by a large business delegation that included Finance Minister Anton Siluanov, Central Bank Governor Elvira Nabioullina and several directors of major state-owned companies.

After the closed-door discussions, Xi and Putin held a press conference in front of Chinese and Russian journalists, but did not answer questions. Putin said his partnership with China is an example of how relations should work. But among his praise for bilateral relations, he highlighted the section in which he assured that the two countries were “deepen peaceful nuclear cooperation”, without adding more information. He also noted that there are “concrete plans to deepen energy cooperation,” adding that energy is one of Russia's “priorities.”

For his part, the Chinese president emphasizes that the current association between the two countries is based on a “confluence of interests” and that they will strive to lay the foundations of a network of scientific cooperation and maintain the stability of industrial chains and global supply.

In his speeches, Xi does not mention Russian invasion of Ukraine, while Putin revealed that the two had discussed it during their meeting. “We are grateful to China for its efforts to resolve the Ukrainian crisis,” the Russian said. His Chinese counterpart referred to Israel's war in Gaza, saying it is “of the utmost urgency” to resolve the conflict and that the “only solution for lasting peace” is through the creation of two states.

Before the leaders came out to give the press conference, they leaked from Beijing some notes of conversations they had held behind closed doors. “President Xi Jinping welcomed his old friend for a state visit. When President Putin was sworn in for his fifth term, President Xi warmly congratulated him and expressed his belief that under his leadership, Russia will surely achieve new and greater progress in national development,” read Beijing’s first reading of the meeting.

“China-Russia relations have become increasingly strong despite ups and downs, and have resisted changes in the international landscape. The steady development of relations is conducive to peace, stability and prosperity in the region And in the world.” willing to work with Russia to remain a good neighbor and jointly pursue development and uphold justice in the world,” Xi said, according to the same writing.

The Chinese government has at no time supported the invasion of Ukraine (which it describes as a “crisis”), but the links of the Beijing-Moscow axis, particularly in the economic field, constitute the great asset of the Kremlin to overcome the crisis. lifting of Western sanctions. The United States has also accused Beijing of selling the Putin regime dual-use technologies needed to power the Kremlin's “war machine”, something Chinese authorities deny.

Economic cooperation

Putin, in addition to the photo with Xi to demonstrate once again to the West that he is not as isolated as they claim, seeks to further strengthen economic cooperation during his trip to China. China and Russia are sailing in the same self-critical direction, but the Kremlin is the secondary partner in an unequal relationship. Moscow depends much more on Beijing than the other way around.

After the invasion of Ukraine, trade between China and Russia reached a record level. 240 billion dollars in 2023, according to data from Beijing customs services, driven in part by Chinese companies that bought oil and coal at reduced prices. Russia mainly supplies China with raw materials and energy, while Moscow needs investments and high-tech products. However, after US threats against Chinese financial institutions, Chinese exports to Russia fell in March and April.

According to a report published by the Chongyang Institute of Financial Studies at Renmin University in Beijing, Chinese authorities, concerned about these sanctions, suspended around 80% of payment agreements with Russia in March, a decision which shows that this “limitless” association Putin boasts, this is not really the case.

Beijing has tried to balance an increasingly solid alliance with the Kremlin, its major international partner, while claiming to maintain its policy of unconditionally defending Ukraine's sovereignty. Chinese diplomats still quietly acknowledge that they have never been comfortable with Putin's attack, but they also cannot let go of their neighbor's hand.

In an interview published Wednesday with Chinese state agency Xinhua, Putin hailed 'peace plan' presented by Beijing in February last year, on the first anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The document calls for respect for the sovereignty of all countries and a ceasefire, while criticizing sanctions against Russia and considering Putin's security concerns about NATO expansion in Europe to be legitimate. ballast.

Western allies criticized the Chinese regime that although the plan called for a ceasefire, none of its points included the withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukrainian territory. “Putin applauds it (the peace plan presented by Beijing), so what could it be good for?” declared the American. Joe Biden. “China does not have much credibility because it did not condemn the illegal invasion of Ukraine,” also underlined the NATO Secretary General. Jens Stoltenberg.

Putin's visit to Beijing comes a week after Xi's first European tour in five years, where the Chinese leader witnessed divisions in Europe over what strategy to follow regarding China. Xi began the trip in Paris answering complex questions about his support for Russia in the war, and ended it with showers of crowds and adulation in Belgrade and Budapest.

During the meeting with the French president, Emmanuel Macron, and the head of the Commission of the European Union, Ursula von der Leyenthe president of the Asian superpower has pledged that his country will not sell weapons to Russia and will control the flow of dual-use technologies to Putin's military.

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