Chinese President Xi Jinping’s three-day visit to Russia, which concluded on Wednesday, marks a milestone in what the two countries have called a “multipolar world order”. While Russian President Vladimir Putin stressed the “limitless possibilities and prospects” of cooperation, Xi said China-Russia relations “enter a new era”.

On Tuesday night (21), the two leaders released a joint statement to announce the strengthening of “bilateral ties” in the military sphere. According to Xi, China’s position in international conflicts takes into account the promotion of “peace and dialogue”, especially in Ukraine. The Chinese – Xi stressed – are “on the right side of history” and agree, alongside the Russians, “to jointly resist the interference of external forces in internal affairs”.

Putin, in turn, praised the 12 points of the peace plan presented by China, but pondered that Ukraine and the West do not seem “ready” even to discuss a reasonable way out of the war. “Many of the provisions of the peace plan presented by China are in line with Russian approaches – and can be taken as the basis for a peaceful settlement when they are ready for it in the West and in Kiev. However, so far we do not see such readiness on their part,” Putin said.

Regarding the conflicts between China and Taiwan, the Russian president reiterated his support for the “one China” principle. In addition, there was a common rejection of nuclear war, as well as the arrest order against Putin arbitrarily made by the ICC (International Criminal Court).

China and Russia assured that, despite the growing strategic partnership, they are against a “political-military type alliance”. In this sense, they criticized both the new Aukus pact (signed between Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom) and NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) military expansion in Asia.

From an economic point of view, Xi’s trip yielded a second joint declaration, which sets out further bilateral cooperation by 2030, focusing on eight areas. “China is Russia’s main foreign trade partner,” Putin said.

One of the projects provides for the construction of the second gas pipeline from Russia to China, which should expand exports of Russian natural gas. The pipeline will be built in Siberia and will transport gas through Mongolia.

In a post-pandemic world and grappling with the risk of a new financial crisis, China and Russia emerge strengthened from the summit that brought together their two leaders. Xi even invited Putin to go to China in 2023, “at a convenient time”, as reported by Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin. Putin is expected to reciprocate the visit and participate in the 3rd New Silk Road Forum for International Cooperation, still without a set date.


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