- Putin’s remarks highlight the West’s pivot to China.
- There was no sign of Mr. Xi in support of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
- US says it is “concerned” about China’s alignment with Russia.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said Friday he expected Chinese President Xi Jinping to pay a state visit early next year in what would be a public show of solidarity from Beijing as Russia’s invasion of ‘Ukraine is failing.
But an official Chinese readout of a video summit between the two leaders highlighted differences in approach to their developing alliance, making no mention of a visit and stressing that Beijing, which has refused to support or condemn the invasion, would uphold its “objective and justice.” “Position.
Since sending troops into Ukraine in February, Russia has turned its back on Western powers that have ostracized it economically and politically and armed Ukraine, instead courting rising global power China.
“We are waiting for you, dear Mr. President, dear friend, we are waiting for you next spring on a state visit to Moscow,” Putin told Jinping in an effusive eight-minute introductory statement broadcast on state television.
“This will demonstrate to the whole world the strength of Russian-Chinese ties on key issues.”
Collaboration “Without limits”.
He also said it was aimed at boosting military cooperation with China, although there was no mention of the call by Chinese state broadcaster CCTV’s report.
Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin appear on screen during a meeting by video link in Beijing on Friday, Dec. 30, 2022. Source: AAP / AP
Although Jinping called Putin his “dear friend,” his opening statement, about a quarter of Putin’s, was much more pragmatic.
The two men had signed a “no-limits” strategic partnership in February, informed by shared distrust of the West, days before Russia sent its armed forces into Ukraine in what it calls a “special military operation.”
The United States said after the call that it was “concerned” about China’s alignment with Russia and reiterated that it had warned Beijing of the consequences if it provided Russia with military assistance for its war against Ukraine or assistance to evade Western sanctions.
“We are closely monitoring Beijing’s activity,” a State Department spokesman said.
“Beijing claims to be neutral, but its behavior makes it clear that it is still investing in close ties with Russia.”
US officials have consistently said they have yet to see Beijing provide material support to Russia for war, a move that could trigger sanctions against China.
Bilateral trade soars
As major Western economies responded to the invasion with a coordinated and unprecedented barrage of sanctions, Russia has been forced to seek other markets and has overtaken Saudi Arabia as China’s main crude supplier.
Bilateral trade has soared and financial ties have expanded.
On Friday, Russia’s Finance Ministry doubled the maximum possible share of the Chinese yuan in its National Wealth Fund (NWF) to 60%, as Moscow seeks to “de-dollarize” its economy and end dependence on nations “not friendlies,” including the United States. . , members of the European Union and Great Britain and Japan.
Moscow has also publicly backed Jinping’s stance on Taiwan and accused the West of trying to provoke a conflict over the status of the autonomous island, which China claims as its own.
Putin told Jinping: “You and I share the same views on the causes, course and logic of the ongoing transformation of the global geopolitical landscape in the face of unprecedented pressure and provocations from the West.”
However, Mr. Jinping has been less vocal in his criticism of Western countries that are China’s main export market and has been cool with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
China has refrained from condemning, instead emphasizing the need for peace, but Putin publicly acknowledged in September that his Chinese counterpart was “concerned” by Russia’s actions.
Mr. Jinping, however, told Mr. Putin on Friday that China was ready to increase strategic cooperation with Russia against the backdrop of what he called a “difficult” situation in the wider world.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the meeting had been substantial and constructive, but that no date had yet been set for Mr Xi’s visit.