China tightens its relationship with Russia

Russian President Vladimir Putin China Chinese President Xi Jinping

Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in Beijing on Tuesday to meet with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on a widely watched trip aimed at showcasing the deep mutual trust and “no-limits” partnership between China and its giant neighbour.

Putin and his entourage flew into the Beijing Capital International Airport on Tuesday morning, according to Reuters video footage, in the Kremlin chief’s first official trip outside of the former Soviet Union this year

Putin has travelled little abroad since the Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for him in March, accusing him of illegally deporting children from Ukraine. Putin visited Kyrgyzstan, a former Soviet republic, earlier this month.

The ICC’s move obliges the court’s 123 member states to arrest Putin and transfer him to The Hague for trial if he sets foot on their territory. Neither Kyrgyzstan nor China are members of the ICC, established to prosecute war crimes.

Xi last saw his “dear friend” in Moscow just days after the warrant was issued. At the time, Xi invited Putin to attend the third Belt and Road forum in Beijing, an international cooperation forum championed by the Chinese leader. Putin will meet with Xi on Wednesday.

Beijing has rejected Western criticism of its partnership with Moscow even as the war in Ukraine showed no sign of ceasing, insisting that their ties do not violate international norms, and China has the right to collaborate with whichever country it chooses.

Putin last visited China for the Beijing Winter Olympics in February 2022 when Russia and China declared a “no-limits” partnership days before the Russian president sent tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine.

It would be Putin’s third attendance of the Belt and Road Forum, which runs through Wednesday. He attended the two previous forums in 2017 and 2019.

BELT AND ROAD

The forum centres on the Belt and Road initiative, a grand plan launched by Xi a decade ago that he hopes would build global infrastructure and energy networks connecting Asia with Africa and Europe through overland and maritime routes.

Putin has praised the initiative, saying it is a platform for international cooperation.

“In my opinion, the main advantage of the cooperation concept proposed by China is that within the framework of cooperation, no one imposes anything on others,” Putin told Chinese media ahead of his visit.

“This is the difference between President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative and other projects pursued by countries with a colonialist flavour,” Putin was quoted as saying.

Since the start of the Ukrainian conflict, Russia has cemented its energy ties with China in a sign of their economic cooperation.

Russia exports around 2.0 million barrels of oil per day to China, more than a third of its total crude oil exports. Moscow also aims to build a second natural gas pipeline to China.

While the heads of Russia’s oil and gas giants Rosneft and Gazprom will be part of Putin’s travelling delegation, no new deals in energy can be expected.

The trip is not a “full-fledged bilateral” visit, but one made on the sidelines of an international conference, according to the Kremlin.

Copyright Greekcitytimes 2024