Xi to meet Putin on first trip outside China since Covid started

Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing, China on February 4, 2022. Reuters via Sputnik/Alexei Truzhinin/Kremlin ATTENTION EDITORS – This image was provided by a third party.

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LONDON/BEIJING, Sept 11 (Reuters) – Xi Jinping leaves China for the first time in two years on a trip to Central Asia this week, where he will meet Russia’s Vladimir Putin. The most powerful Chinese leader since Mao Zedong.

Xi’s first foreign trip since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic shows how confident he is in his grip on power in China and how dangerous the global situation has become.

Xi is on a state visit to Kazakhstan on Wednesday amid Russia’s conflict with the West in Ukraine, the crisis over Taiwan and a faltering global economy.

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The Chinese president will meet Putin at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and the Kremlin in the ancient Silk Road city of Samarkand.

Putin’s foreign policy aide, Yuri Ushakov, told reporters last week that the Russian president is expected to meet Xi at the summit. The Kremlin declined to provide details of their talks. China has yet to confirm Xi’s travel plans.

The meeting will give Xi an opportunity to underline his influence, while Putin can demonstrate Russia’s tilt towards Asia; Both leaders could show their opposition to the US as the West seeks to punish Russia for its war in Ukraine.

“In my view this is about Xi: he wants to show how confident he is domestically and to be seen as an international leader of countries against Western hegemony,” said George Magnus, author of the book “Red Flags.” Challenges of G.

“Personally, I imagine Xi will be very interested in how Putin’s war is going, and if Putin or Russia play in the future, because China needs anti-Western leadership in Moscow.”

Russia suffered its worst defeat of the war last week, abandoning its key stronghold in northeastern Ukraine. read more

The deepening “no limits” partnership between rising superpower China and natural resources titan Russia is one of the most intriguing geopolitical developments in recent years — and the West is watching with concern.

Russia, once a senior partner in the global communist hierarchy, is now considered a junior partner in a resurgent Communist China after the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union, which is projected to overtake the United States as the world’s largest economy in the next decade.

While historical contradictions in the partnership abound, there is no sign that Xi is ready to abandon his support for Putin in Russia’s most serious confrontation with the West since the height of the Cold War.

Instead, the two 69-year-old leaders are deepening ties. Trade between Russia and China rose by almost a third in the first 7 months of 2022.

The visit “shows that China is ready to continue business ‘as usual’ with Russia, but also to show open support and accelerate the building of a stronger China-Russia alignment,” said Alexander Korolev, senior lecturer in politics and international relations at UNSW. Sydney.

“Beijing is reluctant to distance itself from Moscow, even when faced with severe reputational costs and the risks of becoming the target of secondary sanctions.”

XI Supreme

Oct. Xi is widely expected to break precedent and secure a third five-year leadership term at the Communist Party Congress starting on the 16th. read more

Although Xi has met Putin in person 38 times since becoming China’s president in 2013, he has yet to meet Joe Biden in person after taking office in 2021.

Xi last met Putin in February, just weeks before the Russian president ordered an invasion of Ukraine that killed tens of thousands of people and wreaked havoc on the global economy.

In that meeting at the start of the Winter Olympics, Xi and Putin declared a “no limits” partnership, supporting each other in the conflicts over Ukraine and Taiwan and pledging further cooperation against the West.

China has refrained from condemning Russia’s move against Ukraine or calling the war an “invasion”, which the Kremlin says is “a special military operation”.

“It’s not really big news that Xi is supporting Putin because it’s clear that Xi is supporting Putin,” said Professor Steve Chang, director of the China Institute at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London.

“Ahead of the Party Congress, the big signal is that he, Xi Jinping, is going out of China for the first time since the epidemic. If there are going to be conspiracies against him, these conspiracies will happen. And he is sure that there will be no conspiracies because he is abroad.

Xi, the son of a Communist revolutionary, is poised to take a historic third leadership post at the 20th Communist Party Congress, which begins on October 16. He last left China in January 2020. read more

Kremlin leadership

After the West imposed some of the toughest economic sanctions on Moscow in modern history over its war in Ukraine, Putin says Russia is turning to Asia, looking to the West for centuries as the center of economic growth, technology and warfare. read more

Portraying the West as a declining, US-dominated alliance and aiming to contain or destroy Russia, Putin’s worldview aligns with Xi’s, which presents China as an alternative to the US-led, post-World War II order.

Putin aide Ushakov said the G-Putin meeting would be “very important”. He did not give further details.

As Europe seeks to wean itself off Russian energy imports, Putin will seek to increase energy exports to China and Asia.

Putin said last week that a major gas export route through Mongolia to China had been agreed. Gazprom (GAZP.MM) For years it has been studying the possibility of a huge new gas pipeline – Power of Siberia 2 – to travel through Mongolia, carrying Russian gas to China.

It will carry 50 billion cubic meters of gas a year, about a third of what Russia usually sells to Europe – or the equivalent of Nord Stream 1 annual volumes.

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which includes Russia, China, India, Pakistan and four Central Asian countries, is set to recognize Iran, one of Moscow’s main allies in the Middle East.

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By Guy Falconbridge; Additional reporting by Olszs Aizov in Almaty and Yu Lun Tian and Martin Quinn Pollard in Beijing; Editing by Raisa Kasolovsky and Alexander Smith

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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