- Putin’s views center on China from the West
- Both share a distrust of the West
- Xi’s reserved comments contrasted with Putin’s upbeat tone
- Chinese media reports of the video meeting made no mention of the visit
- There was no sign from Xi of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine
Dec 30 (Reuters) – Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Friday he expected Chinese President Xi Jinping to make a state visit early next year in a public show of solidarity from Beijing after Russia’s failed invasion of Ukraine.
But the official Chinese reading of the video summit between the two leaders highlighted differences in approach to their developing alliance, made no mention of a visit and Beijing, which refused to support or condemn the invasion, insisted it would be “specific and justified”. “Standing on the Problem.
Since sending its troops into Ukraine in February, Russia has turned its back on Western powers that have marginalized it economically and politically and armed Ukraine, preferring instead the rising world power of longtime rival China.
“Dear Mr. President, dear friend, we are waiting for you, we expect you to make a state visit to Moscow next spring,” Putin told Xi in an eight-minute introductory statement broadcast on state television.
“It will demonstrate the strength of Russian-Chinese relations on key issues to the entire world.”
He also said he was aiming to increase military cooperation with China – a statement on the call by Chinese state broadcaster CCTV that made no mention of it.
Although Xi called Putin his “dear friend,” his introductory statement, a quarter of Putin’s length, was more pragmatic in tone.
The two signed a “no limits” strategic partnership in February, heralded by the West’s shared mistrust, just days before Russia sent its armed forces into Ukraine.
Trade is booming
As major Western economies responded to the invasion with an unprecedented, coordinated barrage of sanctions, Russia has been forced to seek other markets, and has overtaken Saudi Arabia as a supplier of crude to China. Bilateral trade has risen and financial ties have expanded.
On Friday, Russia’s Finance Ministry doubled the maximum share of the Chinese yuan in its National Wealth Fund (NWF) to 60%, as Moscow seeks to “dollarize” its economy and end dependence on “unfriendly” countries, including the US and European countries. Union members, Britain and Japan.
Moscow has publicly backed Xi’s stance on Taiwan and accused the West of trying to foment a conflict over the status of the self-ruled island, which China claims as its own.
Putin told Xi: “You and I share the same views on the causes, trend and logic of the current change in the global geopolitical landscape, facing unprecedented pressure and provocations from the West.”
However, the Chinese leader has been less vocal in his criticism of the West, China’s main export market, and has appeared cool on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
China avoided condemnation, instead emphasizing the need for peace, but in September Putin publicly admitted to his Chinese counterpart that he was “concerned” about Russia’s actions.
Beijing has so far been careful not to provide direct material support for an invasion that could trigger Western sanctions against China.
However, Xi told Putin on Friday that China was ready to increase strategic cooperation with Russia against the backdrop of what he called a “difficult” situation in the world.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the meeting was substantive and constructive, but no date has yet been set for Xi’s visit.
Reported by Reuters; Additional reporting by Eduardo Baptista in Shanghai; Written by Kevin Liffey; Editing by Andrew Heavens and Tomasz Janowski
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