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China and Russia will continue to uphold position of non-confrontation: Xi Jinping – Times of India

WorldChina and Russia will continue to uphold position of non-confrontation: Xi Jinping - Times of India

NEW DELHI: Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday hailed ties with Russia as “conducive to peace’ and pledged to strengthen cooperation as he hosted his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Beijing.
Putin is making his first trip abroad since being re-elected in March. This is his second trip to China in just over six months. China serves as an economic lifeline for Russia, especially after facing unprecedented sanctions from the West due to its military actions in Ukraine.
Putin is seeking increased support from China for his military campaign in Ukraine and his struggling economy.Xi welcomed Putin at a lavish ceremony outside the Great Hall of the People in central Beijing, as seen in footage from state broadcaster CCTV.
The national anthems of both countries and martial tunes were played as the two leaders met. This kicked off a two-day visit by Putin. The visit is expected to deepen a relationship that the countries have declared has ‘no limits’.
In a meeting, Chinese President Xi then told his ‘old friend’ Putin that “China-Russia relations are not only in the fundamental interests of the two countries… but also conducive to peace,” as per a readout from Beijing’s foreign ministry.
“China is ready to work with Russia to… uphold fairness and justice in the world,” Xi added.
“The China-Russia relationship today is hard-earned, and the two sides need to cherish and nurture it.”
Putin, in turn, told Xi the two countries’ relations were “stabilising factors in the international arena’.
“Relations between Russia and China are not opportunistic and not directed against anyone,” Putin said, according to Russian television pool footage.
“Sincere personal friendship’
The Russian leader’s arrival followed his praise for his country’s troops, who he commended for advancing on multiple fronts in the Ukrainian battlefield, in the wake of a significant new ground assault.
Xi returned from a recent tour of Europe. He has dismissed Western criticism of his country’s relationship with Moscow. Xi benefits from affordable Russian energy imports and has access to abundant natural resources. This includes receiving consistent gas shipments through the Power of Siberia pipeline.
“This is Putin’s first trip after his inauguration, and it is therefore intended to show that Sino-Russian relations are moving up another level,” independent Russian political analyst Konstantin Kalachev told AFP.
“Not to mention the visibly sincere personal friendship between the two leaders.”
The economic partnership is facing close scrutiny in the West. Chinese banks are concerned about potential US sanctions that could disconnect them from the global financial system. As a result, they have started putting pressure on Russian businesses.
Putin, in an interview released by Xinhua prior to his visit, lauded Beijing’s “authentic willingness” to aid in resolving the Ukraine crisis.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who recently met with Xi in Beijing, cautioned that China’s backing of Russia’s “aggressive war” in Ukraine had facilitated an increase in Russia’s production of rockets, drones, and tanks—without directly engaging in arms exports.
China claims its neutrality in the Ukraine conflict, with the foreign ministry in Beijing, saying, that the two leaders will discuss “bilateral relations, cooperation across different sectors, and international and regional issues of mutual concern” during their meeting.
Transactions are currently experiencing a decrease in speed.
China-Russia trade has experienced significant growth following the Ukraine invasion, reaching $240 billion in 2023 as reported by Chinese customs data.
After Washington promised to target financial institutions that help Moscow, Chinese exports to Russia decreased in March and April. This decline followed a previous increase earlier in the year.
An executive order was issued by President Joe Biden in December. This order allows for secondary sanctions to be imposed on foreign banks that engage with Russia’s war machine. As a result, the US Treasury has the authority to exclude these banks from the dollar-led global financial system.
Recent efforts to rebuild fractured ties with the United States, along with other factors, may lead Beijing to be hesitant in openly seeking further cooperation with Russia. This reluctance is despite Moscow’s desires, according to analysts.
Eight people from both countries who are engaged in cross-border trade have informed AFP in the recent days that multiple Chinese banks have stopped or reduced transactions with Russian clients.
Putin’s trip to Beijing after the election is similar to Xi’s visit to Russia following his re-election as the leader last year.
Experts expect this week’s highly symbolic meeting to result in toasts to the “no limits’ partnership, as well as some deals signed and pledges to increase trade.
The two leaders are scheduled to sign a joint declaration after the discussions. The Kremlin mentioned that they will also participate in an event commemorating 75 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
Putin will also meet Premier Li Qiang — China’s number two official — and travel to the northeastern city of Harbin for a trade and investment expo.
(With inputs from agencies)

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