June 19, 2024

China’s Xi Jinping rolls out red carpet for close friend Putin in strong show of unity

China’s Xi Jinping rolls out red carpet for close friend Putin in strong show of unity

China’s Xi Jinping rolls out red carpet for close friend Putin in strong show of unity

16 May 2024
By Simone McCarthy

Chinese leader Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin pledged to deepen their strategic partnership in Beijing on Thursday, in a stark show of their growing alignment as Moscow’s troops advance in Ukraine.

Putin — whose delegation includes top defense and security officials — was welcomed by Xi to Beijing’s Great Hall of the People earlier with full military pageantry, heralding the start of the Russian president’s two-day state visit.

A sweeping joint statement released by the two leaders laid out their countries’ alignment on a host of issues including energy, trade, security, and geopolitics with specific references to Ukraine, Taiwan and conflict in the Middle East.

The visit — Putin’s symbolic first overseas foray since starting a new term as Russia’s president last week — is the latest sign of tightening relations as the two bind their countries closer in the face of heavy friction with the West.

The statement proclaimed that China-Russian relations have stood “the test of rapid changes in the world, demonstrating strength and stability, and are experiencing the best period in their history,” the two leaders calling each other “priority partners.”

Putin, whose country’s economy has become increasingly reliant on China since his February 2022 invasion of Ukraine, hailed the countries’ “practical cooperation” in meetings with Xi, noting their record bilateral trade last year, while stressing the importance of bolstering energy, industrial, and agriculture cooperation, according to Russian state media Tass.

Their meeting is Putin and Xi’s fourth time speaking face-to-face since Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine — weeks after the two declared a “no limits” partnership on the sidelines of the Winter Olympics in Beijing.

This week’s state visit comes amid mounting international concern about the direction of the war in Ukraine amid delays to aid for Kyiv and as Russia’s economy and defense complex appears unbowed by Western sanctions — a situation that United States officials have alleged is linked to Chinese support, which Beijing denies.

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