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Putin, Xi Alliance Strengthens with ‘No Limits’ Partnership

Xi: “The China-Russia relationship today is hard-earned, and the two sides need to cherish and nurture it”

Putin, Xi Alliance Strengthens with ‘No Limits’ Partnership

Russian President Vladimir Putin met with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday to sign a joint statement reaffirming a “no limits” partnership.

The initial meeting kicks off a two-day visit from Putin at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, where the two leaders will discuss the war in Ukraine, Middle Eastern conflict, and collaboration on defense and economics.

"The China-Russia relationship today is hard-earned, and the two sides need to cherish and nurture it," Xi told Putin, per Reuters. "China is willing to ... jointly achieve the development and rejuvenation of our respective countries, and work together to uphold fairness and justice in the world."

"Together we are defending the principles of justice and a democratic world order reflecting multipolar realities and based on international law," Putin said, according to the outlet.

Putin’s visit occurs while Russian troops are reportedly mounting an offensive in Ukraine’s northwestern Kharkiv region, which AP News referred to as “the most significant border incursion since the full-scale invasion began on Feb. 24, 2022.”

“China claims to take a neutral position in the conflict, but it has backed the Kremlin’s contentions that Russia was provoked into attacking Ukraine by the West, and it continues to supply key components needed by Moscow for weapons production,” the outlet reports.

At the meeting, Xi said trade between Russia and China last year exceeded $240 billion – an all-time high, NHK World Japan reports.

"This is a good indication of the all-round cooperation of mutual benefit that continues to deepen between the two countries,” the Chinese president said.

“Putin's two-day visit, which also includes a trip to the northeastern city of Harbin near Russia’s border, is his first international trip since starting his unprecedented fifth term as president amid a crackdown on his opposition,” the LA Times reports. “Trade with China has helped keep Russia’s war efforts afloat, after sanctions following Putin’s invasion of Ukraine crippled its economy. While China has also benefited from Russia’s diplomatic support in its clashes with the West, that economic reliance has given Xi a slight upper hand.”

The formal reaffirmation of Russia and China’s partnership comes weeks after U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned Xi that aiding Russia is against China's best interests. Rather, Blinken suggested China should seek better relations with European nations that view Russia as a threat.

“Blinken's China trip appears to have been an unsuccessful attempt to undermine a 'no limits' partnership proclaimed when Putin visited Beijing in February 2022, just days before he sent tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine triggering the deadliest land war in Europe since World War Two,” per Reuters.

According to Axios, “the market and geopolitical stakes are huge – especially following the massive decline in Russian gas flows to Europe since the invasion of Ukraine” – as Russia tries to persuade China to support the Power of Siberia 2 pipeline.

A recent commentary from Columbia’s Center on Global Energy Policy concluded:

Russia’s push for the project has been driven by noncommercial factors all along. For China, the price of gas and overreliance on a single supplier have been the primary concerns until now, but worsening relations with the US could lend additional support for PS-2. If and when the project is built, it likely will be on China’s terms—and it may well reshape the global gas market.

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