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What came out of the meeting between Mr Xi and Mr Putin?

A look into what was discussed during the meeting between Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin in Moscow.



Chinese President, Mr Xi and Russian President, Mr Putin meet up in Moscow.


The President of Russia, Vladimir Putin and the President of China, Xi Jinping, had a meeting to discuss numerous issues, such as the War in Ukraine, trading, etc, in Moscow, on the 20th of March. The two consider each other “dear friends” as Mr Putin describes it and this meeting became crucial to future actions the two countries will take. Mr Putin praised China’s leadership, as it is “overserving the principles of justice” and fighting for “undivided security for every country.” As a response, Mr Xi replied by stating that “under your strong leadership, Russia has made great strides in its prosperous development. I am confident that the Russian people will continue to give you their firm support.”


One of the main discussed topics in the meeting was Mr Xi’s plan to end the war in Ukraine and establish peace. The US described this plan as a “stalling tactic”, and the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken added that “the world should not be fooled by any tactical move by Russia, supported by China or any other country, to freeze the war on its own terms.” He also commented that “calling for a ceasefire that does not include the removal of Russian forces from Ukrainian territory would effectively be supporting the ratification of Russian conquest.”


One factor of this plan is that it doesn’t specify that Russia will retrieve from Ukraine which is one of the actions that Ukraine demanded to even start peace discussions. It highlighted “respecting the sovereignty of all countries… all parties must stay rational and exercise restraint” as well as “gradually deescalate the situation.” The plan also demonstrated China’s opposition to the “unilateral sanctions”, which can be seen as disapproval towards Western countries and other Ukraine allies. Upon listening to the plan, Putin mentioned how it can be used as the base to create peace between Russia and Ukraine. However, the war in Ukraine was not the main topic in this meeting.


Chinese President, Mr Xi and Russian President, Mr Putin meet up in Moscow.


Another outcome of the meeting was a promise for economic cooperation and support between the two countries. These agreements benefitting China more than Russia. Amanda Hisao, who works as the International Crisis Group’s Senior China analyst, stated that “the trip was valuable for Putin to signal that he is not internationally isolated and for Mr Xi to signal to Washington that China has a reliable partner in its corner regardless of what new American-led pressures may emerge.” She continued to say how during the meeting there wasn’t a mention towards the “no limits” alliance they had declared before the War in Ukraine. This meeting solely made a declaration about the firmness and security of China and Russia’s alliance and how China is willing to sacrifice its international reputation for it.

One aspect that was revealed about the relationship between the countries through this meeting is its disproportionality. Ja Jan Chong (National University of Singapore associate professor, focuses on China foreign policy) commented that Russia is in need of China’s help much more than China is in need of Russia’s. To add to this, Sam Greene, A King’s college London Russian Politics professor, stated that this meeting was “essentially permission from Beijing to keep fighting”. The American Senate described the alliance as a “marriage of convenience” where Russia is a “junior partner”.


This meeting also adds to Mr Xi’s image as a prominent international figure after he created a deal between Saudi Arabia and Iran in order to reinstate diplomatic relations between the two countries.


The two countries also talked about the change in the world in terms of power and about creating a world where there isn’t a single country controlling everything. There was also the mention of the USA and specifically Washington D.C, about how they “urge the United States to stop undermining international and regional security and global strategic stability in order to maintain its own unilateral military superiority.” They have mentioned how they want to “safeguard the international system” and create a “multipolar world”.


There was also discussion about Russia’s economic situation. Chinese businesses have been planned to take the place of American businesses since their departure from the Russian market following the war in Ukraine. With the war, Russia has become dependent on China for both exports and imports, the exports mainly consisting of technology. They have broadened their energy trading, stating that they “will build a closer energy partnership, supporting companies from both countries in advancing cooperation projects in oil, gas, coal, electricity, and nuclear energy.” In the official Russian statement, there was a note regarding “research and consultation” to a “new China-Mongolia-Russia natural gas pipeline project”. This would consist of exporting gas to substitute the Nord Stream Line 2 which gives gas to Europe.


Picture of Nord Stream Line 2.


Other countries have responded to the meeting between the two countries'presidents. For example, Japan’s prime minister visited the capital of Ukraine, Kyiv, to show the country’s support towards Ukraine and Volodymyr Zelinsky. This was around the same time as the meeting between Mr Xi and Mr Putin. Rahm Emanual, Japan’s American ambassador, responded to this situation saying that the meetings represented “two very different European-Pacific partnerships” and that “Prime Minister Kishida stands with freedom, and Xi stands with a war criminal.” This phrase refers to the ICC accusing Putin of war crimes regarding the kidnapping of children from Ukraine. Russia has denied the claims.


Japan’s Prime Minister and Ukraine’s President have a meeting in Kyiv.


Bibliography:

Chatterjee, Phelan. “Putin to XI: We Will Discuss Your Plan to End the War in Ukraine.” BBC News, BBC, 20 Mar. 2023, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-65018657.

McCarthy, Simone. “No Path to Peace: Five Key Takeaways from XI and Putin's Talks in Moscow.” CNN, Cable News Network, 22 Mar. 2023, https://edition.cnn.com/2023/03/22/europe/china-xi-russia-putin-talks-five-takeaways-intl-hnk-mic/index.html.

“Xi's Russia Trip Shows Putin's War in Ukraine Has Left Him a Junior Partner to China.” NBCNews.com, NBCUniversal News Group, 23 Mar. 2023, https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/china-russia-xi-jinping-vladimir-putin-new-global-order-us-ukraine-rcna76268.


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