Seeking Further Support for War Effort, Putin talks with Xi in Beijing

Thu May 16 2024
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BEIJING, China: Russian President Vladimir Putin’s recent visit to Beijing for talks with Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping underscores the significance of Sino-Russian relations amidst heightened global scrutiny.

This visit marks Putin’s first trip abroad since his re-election in March and signifies the enduring economic partnership between Russia and China, particularly amid Western sanctions imposed over Russia’s military actions in Ukraine.

The meeting commenced with a grand welcoming ceremony outside central Beijing’s Great Hall of the People, symbolizing the deepening ties between the two nations.

As both leaders exchanged views on bilateral ties, strategic cooperation, and regional issues, they reiterated their commitment to enhancing the “no limits” partnership that they have proclaimed.

Despite Western criticism, Xi has reaffirmed China’s support for Moscow, evident in the economic lifeline provided through energy imports and natural resource access, including significant gas shipments via the Power of Siberia pipeline. Putin’s visit underscores the intent to elevate Sino-Russian relations to new heights, emphasizing the personal friendship between the two leaders.

However, the economic partnership faces challenges, particularly with Chinese banks apprehensive of US sanctions targeting entities facilitating transactions with Russia. The prospect of secondary sanctions has led to a slowdown in transactions between Chinese banks and Russian clients, impacting bilateral trade volumes.

While China-Russia trade surged to $240 billion in 2023 following the Ukraine invasion, recent months have witnessed a decline due to increased scrutiny and the threat of punitive measures. The cautious approach by Chinese banks reflects concerns about potential repercussions and the need to navigate complex geopolitical dynamics.

Putin’s visit is expected to yield symbolic gestures of cooperation and potentially some trade agreements, reaffirming the enduring nature of the Sino-Russian partnership. The planned signing of a joint declaration and participation in events commemorating 75 years of diplomatic relations highlight the significance attached to bilateral ties.

As the two leaders convene to discuss key areas of cooperation and navigate evolving geopolitical challenges, their meeting underscores the resilience of the Sino-Russian partnership in the face of external pressures. Despite geopolitical complexities and economic uncertainties, both countries remain committed to deepening their strategic alliance and advancing mutual interests.

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