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Beijing’s Host to Putin Highlights Economic and Diplomatic Backing for Russia Amid Ukrainian Conflict

by Michael Nguyen
8 comments
Russia-China Diplomatic Relations

Russian President Vladimir Putin is slated to convene with Chinese leadership in Beijing in a forthcoming visit that signals China’s economic and diplomatic reinforcement for Russia during its ongoing military operations in Ukraine.

The informal alliance between Russia and China stands as a counterweight to the United States and other democracies, a relationship further complicated by the conflict between Israel and Hamas. China has been navigating its economic partnerships with Israel alongside its relations with Iran and Syria, countries that enjoy strong Russian backing.

Furthermore, Putin’s journey to China serves to endorse the Belt and Road Initiative, a cornerstone policy of Chinese President Xi Jinping aimed at expanding infrastructure and boosting China’s international sway.

Putin is expected to be one of the most high-profile attendees at an event celebrating a decade since the Belt and Road Initiative was unveiled by Xi. The initiative has led to burdensome debts for countries such as Zambia and Sri Lanka, who entered into contracts with Chinese corporations for public works projects that were otherwise financially out of reach.

Although not yet officially confirmed, indications from Chinese officials suggest that Putin will arrive late on Monday.

When queried by journalists on Friday regarding the visit, Putin disclosed that discussions would cover Belt and Road projects, which he stated could be integrated with initiatives by an economic coalition of former Soviet states primarily situated in Central Asia to “attain mutual developmental objectives.” Putin minimized concerns about China’s increasing economic leverage in a region that Russia has historically viewed as within its sphere of influence, stating that there are “no contradictions, but rather a certain synergy” in the relationship.

On economic and financial relations between Russia and China, Putin mentioned, “One focal point is the financial relationship and the further encouragement of transactions in domestic currencies. The rate of growth in this area is accelerating, and there are promising opportunities in sectors such as high-technology and energy.”

Alexander Gabuev, Director of the Carnegie Russia Eurasia Center, commented that in the eyes of China, “Russia is a stable, friendly neighbor and a source of inexpensive raw materials, as well as a backer of Chinese global initiatives and a supplier of military technologies, some of which China does not possess.”

Gabuev further noted, “For Russia, China serves as an economic lifeline amid its severe actions against Ukraine.” He added that China is “the primary marketplace for Russian goods, a source of currency and payment infrastructure for Russia’s global trade—not just with China but also with numerous other nations—and a significant supplier of advanced technological imports, some of which are dual-use goods contributing to Russia’s military capabilities.”

While Gabuev expressed skepticism that the two countries would enter into a full-fledged military alliance, he did anticipate that their defense collaboration would expand. “I don’t foresee a military alliance between Russia and China. Both nations are sufficiently secure on their own and gain from cooperation, but neither needs a security commitment from the other,” he remarked.

Relations between China and the erstwhile Soviet Union have evolved from being Cold War antagonists to partners in the economic, military, and diplomatic arenas. Weeks prior to Russia’s all-out invasion of Ukraine this past February, Putin met with Xi in Beijing and both parties committed to a “no-limits” relationship. China’s efforts to position itself as an impartial mediator in Russia’s campaign in Ukraine have been overwhelmingly discredited by the international community.

Xi undertook a trip to Moscow in March amidst a series of interactions between the two countries. China has vocally opposed international sanctions levied against Russia but has refrained from commenting on the International Criminal Court’s issuance of an arrest warrant for Putin on allegations of involvement in the kidnapping of thousands of Ukrainian children.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Russia-China Diplomatic Relations

What is the main purpose of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Beijing?

The main purpose of President Putin’s visit to Beijing is to underline China’s economic and diplomatic support for Russia, especially during its ongoing military operations in Ukraine. The visit serves as an opportunity for both nations to discuss their informal alliance against the United States and other democratic countries. It is also an endorsement of the Belt and Road Initiative, a cornerstone policy aimed at expanding China’s international influence.

What is the Belt and Road Initiative and how is it related to the visit?

The Belt and Road Initiative is a signature policy of Chinese President Xi Jinping aimed at building infrastructure and expanding China’s influence overseas. President Putin is expected to be one of the most high-profile attendees at an event marking the 10th anniversary of the policy’s announcement. Discussions are anticipated to cover potential integration of Belt and Road projects with economic initiatives involving former Soviet states primarily in Central Asia.

How does China view its relationship with Russia?

According to Alexander Gabuev, Director of the Carnegie Russia Eurasia Center, China views Russia as a stable, friendly neighbor and a source of inexpensive raw materials. Russia is also seen as a supporter of Chinese global initiatives and a supplier of military technologies, some of which China does not possess.

How does Russia view its economic relationship with China?

For Russia, China serves as an economic lifeline, particularly amid its severe actions against Ukraine. China is the primary marketplace for Russian goods and provides the currency and payment infrastructure for Russia’s global trade. There are also promising opportunities for cooperation in high-technology and energy sectors.

What are the complexities of the Russia-China alliance with respect to other international conflicts and relations?

The Russia-China alliance is complicated by other international issues such as the Israel-Hamas conflict. China has to balance its economic ties with Israel against its relations with Iran and Syria, countries strongly backed by Russia. Both nations also have their individual strategic interests, making it unlikely for them to enter into a full-fledged military alliance.

How have Russia and China’s relations evolved historically?

Relations between China and the erstwhile Soviet Union have transformed significantly. From being Cold War rivals, the two nations have become partners in various spheres including economic, military, and diplomatic arenas. Weeks before Russia’s all-out invasion of Ukraine, Putin and Xi committed to a “no-limits” relationship.

Has China commented on international sanctions against Russia or the arrest warrant issued for Putin by the International Criminal Court?

China has vocally opposed international sanctions levied against Russia. However, it has refrained from commenting on the International Criminal Court’s issuance of an arrest warrant for President Putin related to allegations of involvement in the kidnapping of thousands of Ukrainian children.

More about Russia-China Diplomatic Relations

  • Russia-China Relations: An Overview
  • The Belt and Road Initiative: What You Need to Know
  • Russia’s Military Operations in Ukraine: A Timeline
  • China’s Stance on International Sanctions Against Russia
  • The Israel-Hamas Conflict: Implications for China-Russia Alliance
  • Alexander Gabuev: Insights on Russia-China Relations
  • International Criminal Court and Its Warrants: An Introduction

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8 comments

HistoryBuff October 16, 2023 - 3:01 am

It’s interesting how Russia and China went from Cold War rivals to this kinda partnership. times really have changed.

Reply
Realist101 October 16, 2023 - 3:57 am

let’s not forget, while they cozy up, there are internal dynamics we dont see. Their alliance isnt as rock-solid as it seems.

Reply
CryptoGuru October 16, 2023 - 5:33 am

belt and road looks like a double edged sword to me. Its expanding China’s influence but at what cost to these smaller nations? They’re gettin buried in debt.

Reply
MidEastAnalyst October 16, 2023 - 5:37 am

Balancing act between Israel, Iran and Syria is just fascinating. China’s walking on a tightrope and Russia’s in the mix too.

Reply
Anna_K October 16, 2023 - 6:27 am

so China’s quiet on the arrest warrant for Putin. not surprised but it says a lot about how they play the diplomatic game.

Reply
EnergyExpert October 16, 2023 - 7:42 pm

The focus on financial relations and especially transactions in national currencies is intriguing. Looks like they’re trying to move away from the dollar.

Reply
PoliticalWatcher October 16, 2023 - 9:30 pm

Alexander Gabuev’s insights are spot on. Russia and China may not form a military alliance, but their defense cooperation’s definitely ramping up.

Reply
JohnDoe45 October 16, 2023 - 11:14 pm

Wow, Russia and China getting even closer huh? This could be a game-changer in global politics. Especially with both of them having issues with the US.

Reply

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