On Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin complimented China for its “balanced approach” on the Ukraine crisis, though he acknowledged Beijing had “questions and worries” over the invasion, a tacit recognition of their divergent views on the ongoing military attack.
Days after Russia suffered a series of catastrophic military setbacks in Ukraine, Putin made the statements when meeting Chinese leader Xi Jinping in person at a regional summit in Uzbekistan. Troops from Russia are pulling back in droves, having lost more ground in a week than they gained in the previous five months.
Despite Western sanctions, China has increased its economic aid to its neighboring country of Ukraine and has boosted bilateral commerce to record levels, providing a benefit to Russia’s corporate sector.
“We greatly value our Chinese allies’ moderate stance on the Ukrainian conflict.” “We hear your interest and concern in this area,” The meeting was opened by a speech by Putin. Although this has been discussed previously, “at today’s meeting we will, of course, explain in detail our viewpoint on this issue.”
According to a readout from the meeting provided by the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Xi said China would “work with Russia to extend strong mutual support on issues concerning each other’s core interests” and “play a leading role in injecting stability and positive energy into a world of change and disorder.”
Xi also praised Russia for “upholding the one-China principle and emphasizing that Taiwan is an integral part of China.”
On the eve of Thursday’s Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping met informally.
Due to their shared authoritarian values and shared opposition to the West, the two presidents have become close allies in recent years.
Russia’s actions in Ukraine have received China’s implicit support, while Moscow has backed Beijing and chastised Washington over US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taipei in August. After her visit, Beijing conducted unprecedented military drills near the democratic self-ruling island it claims as its own.
The White House tried to play down the significance of Putin and Xi’s meeting on Thursday, noting that China has not yet broken Western sanctions against Russia by providing Moscow with direct material support.
“I believe that our message to China has been consistent: that in light of Mr. Putin’s actions in Ukraine, this is not the time to conduct business as usual with him. The international community has largely condemned his actions in Ukraine and has even taken action to assist the Ukrainians in defending their sovereignty and territory. Now is not the time to isolate yourself from the rest of the world “John Kirby, who is in charge of strategic communications for the National Security Council, made the statement.
According to what Kirby claimed, Putin “under intense pressure and stress. His army is struggling in Ukraine, so I think it would be smart for the Kremlin to make nice with Beijing on the situation there.”
During their meeting on Thursday, Putin blasted the United States for “provocations” in the Taiwan Strait and attacked what he called “attempts to build a unipolar world.” They have “recently taken an ugly shape and are utterly unacceptable to most states on the earth,” he added of the efforts.
The discussions are taking place on the sidelines of a Shanghai Cooperation Organization conference, which also includes India, Pakistan, and four countries from Central Asia and focuses on regional security.
Russian Ministry of Defense reports that just hours before their leaders met, Russian and Chinese navies conducted combined patrols and exercises in the Pacific Ocean.
Russia President Vladimir Putin began Thursday’s meeting by highlighting the growing economic links between China and Russia. Bilateral commerce between the two countries topped $140 billion in 2017. He predicted that by year’s end, trade volumes will soar to unprecedented heights, and that in the not-too-distant future, as planned, they would rise to $200 billion or more.
Putin and Xi last met in February, when Putin traveled to Beijing to attend the Winter Olympics. At the meeting, the two presidents outlined their “no-limits” collaboration and issued a 5,000-word paper stating their mutual opposition to the “further extension of NATO.”
On the other hand, Xi is meeting with them on Thursday as part of his first trip outside of China in more than two years, and it comes just weeks before he tries to secure a norm-breaking third term at a major political meeting in Beijing, which would make him China’s most powerful leader in decades.
Since the onset of the pandemic, China has turned inside and has maintained a rigorous zero-Covid policy that severely restricts travel.
To demonstrate that China still has friends and allies and is ready to restore its global influence despite escalating tensions with the West, Xi is using his trip to Central Asia as a comeback to the world arena.
While in Kazakhstan, Xi launched his signature Belt and Road Initiative, a huge infrastructure project that extends from East Asia to Europe, in 2013. This was Xi’s last stop before arriving at the conference.
After meeting with Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev on Wednesday, Chinese official media stated that Xi told Tokayev that “China will always assist Kazakhstan in safeguarding national independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity.”
On Wednesday night, China’s top leader visited Uzbekistan for talks with President Shavkat Mirziyoyev. On Thursday, he also had discussions with the heads of state of Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan.