Putin Visits China, Meets Xi Amid Western Concerns

Russia and China strengthen ties with crucial summit

by Zain ul Abedin
Putin Visits China, Meets Xi Amid Western Concerns
© Lintao Zhang/Getty Images

China has warmly welcomed Russian President Vladimir Putin for a state visit that underscores the deepening ties between Moscow and Beijing, a development that is causing unease among Western nations. This visit, Putin's first international trip since being re-elected earlier this month, marks his second to China in less than a year, highlighting the growing strategic partnership between the two countries amidst escalating tensions with the West.

The focus of Putin's visit is his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, the fourth between the leaders since the Ukraine conflict began in February 2022. This meeting is set to cement their "no limits" partnership further, first declared nearly two years ago, at a time when Western nations are intensifying pressure on China to withdraw its economic support for Russia.

This support has been crucial in helping Russia mitigate the effects of stringent sanctions imposed by the United States and European nations. Trade between China and Russia surged by 26% last year, reaching a record high of $240 billion.

During this visit, both nations are expected to explore additional ways to enhance their trade relations and circumvent Western sanctions. Analysts indicate that the discussions will likely prioritize expanding economic ties and technological cooperation, including industries such as high-tech, outer space, and renewable energy.

Symbolic Putin-Xi Summit

On the geopolitical front, the Putin-Xi summit is symbolic and significant. It represents an opportunity for Putin to demonstrate Russia's ongoing global relevance and its alignment with the world's second-largest economy despite widespread international isolation.

Prior to his arrival, Putin praised China's understanding of the Ukraine conflict's underlying issues and expressed support for Beijing's proposed peace plan, emphasizing the desire for a peaceful resolution through dialogue that considers all involved parties' interests.

The implications of this visit extend beyond bilateral interests. Washington has accused Beijing of indirectly supporting Russia's military efforts in Ukraine, including supplying essential components that have military applications.

Despite these accusations, China maintains its stance of neutrality in the conflict, arguing that its trade with Russia does not violate international sanctions. This visit comes at a time when global dynamics are increasingly complex.

China needs Russia to counterbalance American influence, particularly regarding issues like Taiwan and the South China Sea. The strengthening of the Russia-China axis presents a strategic challenge to Western nations, underscoring the necessity for reassessing diplomatic and economic strategies in response to this growing alliance.