May 20, 2024

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Xi receives Putin on a state visit to China that shows unity among allies

Xi receives Putin on a state visit to China that shows unity among allies

BEIJING (AP) — Chinese President Xi Jinping welcomed his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Thursday at the start of a two-day state visit that coincides with Moscow’s new offensive in Ukraine and highlights the close relationship between the two authoritarian leaders.

After arriving in the country at dawn, Xi received Putin with full military honors in the Great Hall of the People, the huge headquarters of the ceremonial legislature, located next to Tiananmen Square, in the center of the capital, Beijing.

In their subsequent meeting, Xi congratulated Putin on his re-election to a fifth term and celebrated the 75th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the former Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China after their founding after a civil war in 1949. Putin did not do so and did not face credible opposition in the presidential race, as Xi has not presented any plan for a possible succession in office.

Xi said the two countries were strengthening their relationship “as good neighbors, good friends and good partners,” according to Chinese state television, reiterating a commitment to a “borderless” relationship they signed in 2022, before Russia launched its all-out invasion. Ukraine.

Since then, Moscow has become increasingly economically dependent on China, as Western sanctions prevent it from accessing much of the international trading system.

Putin stated that relations between the two countries “are not directed against anyone. Russian news agency RIA Novosti stated that our cooperation in current global affairs is one of the main factors of stability on the international scene.

The Russian leader congratulated Xi on the Belt and Road Initiative, which aims to build roads, ports, power plants and other infrastructure that connects Beijing to its neighbors and absorb the Asian giant’s industrial production in short order after falling domestic demand.

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The Russian agency’s report did not mention the war in Ukraine, a conflict that has claimed thousands of lives and appears to have no end in sight.

On the eve of his trip, Putin stated in an interview with the Chinese press that the Kremlin was ready to negotiate war. “We are open to dialogue on Ukraine, but these negotiations must take into account the interests of all countries involved in the conflict, including ours,” the Chinese news agency Xinhua quoted the president as saying.

Putin’s visit coincides with a new offensive launched by his forces on the northeastern Kharkiv region last week, the most significant cross-border incursion since the beginning of the invasion that forced nearly 8,000 people to flee their homes.

Beijing insists it maintains a neutral stance on the war, but has backed Moscow’s claims that the West provoked it into attacking the neighboring country, despite Putin publicly admitting the attack was motivated by his desire to reclaim the centuries. – Old Russian borders.

Putin blamed the West for the failure of negotiations in the first weeks of the conflict and praised the peace plan presented by Beijing at the time, which allowed Moscow to consolidate its territorial gains.

The Kremlin noted in a statement that during this summit, the two leaders will discuss in detail the full range of issues related to the comprehensive partnership and strategic cooperation, and will define new guidelines for further development of cooperation between Russia and China. In addition to maintaining a detailed exchange of views on the most pressing international and regional issues.

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Moscow has forged an increasingly close relationship with Beijing as the war in Ukraine enters its third year, shifting most of its energy exports to China and relying on Chinese companies to import high-tech components for its military industries in order to avoid Western sanctions.

The relationship between the Kremlin armies and Beijing’s armies has also become closer. In recent years, the two countries have conducted joint exercises, including naval exercises and long-range bomber patrols over the Sea of ​​Japan and the East China Sea, or land exercises in their respective territories.

China remains an important market for the Russian military, as well as significantly expanding its domestic defense industries, including building aircraft carriers and nuclear submarines.

Putin had claimed that Russia shares highly sensitive military technologies with its partner, which has helped significantly enhance its defense capabilities. In October 2019, it was reported that Moscow was helping Beijing develop an early warning system to detect ballistic missile launches, including ground-based radars and satellites that only the Kremlin and the United States possess.

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Bodin reported from Taipei, Taiwan.