BEIJING – Russian President Putin met Xi Jinping, China’s leader, in Beijing on Friday in a highly choreographed show of unity as Putin confronts the United States and NATO over the issue. Ukraine.
“We are working together to bring about true multilateralism,” Xi told Putin, according to a Kremlin translation of their remarks. “Defending the spirit of true democracy serves as a reliable foundation for uniting the world in overcoming crises and defending equality.”
The meeting – the first meeting that Mr. Xi was directly organized with a foreign partner for nearly two years – highlighting the deepening bond between the two authoritarian leaders even as President Biden struggles to contain diplomatic crises with both.
Mr. Putin will also attend the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics, as the most prominent of nearly two dozen world leaders, whose attendance has softened the impact of the “purge”. diplomacy” by President Biden and other leaders of democratic nations.
Putin has mobilized more than 100,000 troops near the Ukrainian borderin what American officials have warned could be a prelude to an invasion.
Although the intentions behind the construction remain uncertain, the Kremlin has accused the United States of exaggerating the threat of an invasion and raising tensions by deploying its troops to Eastern Europe. Earlier this week, Putin said the United States was trying to press the Kremlin to act and complained that the West had ignored Russia’s demands for security guarantees.
In scenes initially shown on Russian state television, Putin greeted Xi on the red carpet at a government guesthouse in western Beijing, raising his hand. The Chinese leader responded, through an interpreter: “Hello! I’m very glad to see you.”
Mr. Putin told him that the China-Russia relationship had “taken a truly unprecedented character”. “It’s an example of a good relationship that helps each of us grow while supporting each other’s development,” Putin said.
Putin’s delegation included Igor Sechin, the powerful head of Russian oil giant Rosneft. Mr. Putin said that Friday’s talks will include discussion of increasing Russia’s energy exports to China. “Our oil people have very well prepared new solutions for supplying hydrocarbons to the People’s Republic of China,” Putin said.
Despite the special measures both of them have taken during the coronavirus pandemic, neither of them wear masks when greeting each other.
In the days leading up to the meeting – the 38th between the two leaders – Beijing express support because of Mr. Putin’s grievances against the United States and NATO, and it joined Russia to try blocking action on Ukraine at the United Nations Security Council.
While not a party to the conflict, the Chinese government has viewed the duel as a test of US influence and is determined to distract Mr Biden from the administration’s focus on US influence. China is the leading strategic rival of the 21st century.
Any new Chinese promises of economic and political support to Putin could undermine Biden’s strategy of boycotting the Russian leader over his military build-up. They could also signal a tectonic shift in the rivalry between the United States and China, with possible echoes from Europe to the Pacific.
On Thursday, Putin, in an article with China’s state news agency Xinhua, pledged to discuss trade and business deals with Xi, as well as strategies for creating global financial mechanism to “offset the negative impact of unilateral sanctions”. ”
China and Russia have long opposed US tactics of restricting dollar-denominated transactions as a way to exert diplomatic pressure, although Chinese companies have in the past complied with them.
Trade between the two countries has skyrocketed in recent years, giving Putin more alternative outlets – especially for natural resources – in the event the United States and Europe seek to impose sanctions. New fines for Russian companies.
Claire Fu research contributions.
https://www.nytimes.com/live/2022/02/03/world/russia-ukraine-xi-putin Russia-Ukraine Crisis Live Update: Putin and Xi Will Meet in China