At a meeting in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, where the two leaders met, the Russian president criticized the “plan to build a unipolar world.” Mr. Xi stated that China and Russia were eager to cooperate as “big powers”. Despite not supporting Russia’s invasion, China has steadily increased trade and other relations with Moscow since it began.
The two leaders’ meeting takes place on the fringes of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit at a critical juncture in the Ukraine war, where Russian troops have recently lost territory in some regions of the nation. When the two last met in February, when Mr. Xi invited Mr. Putin to attend the Winter Olympics in Beijing, they made a memorable declaration that their friendship had “no limitations” in it.
The China-Russia relationship came under great scrutiny after a few days, when Russia invaded Ukraine, leading to worldwide censure and sanctions against Moscow. Since then, Beijing has emphasized the value of sovereignty while calling for a halt to hostilities. But it has also repeatedly refrained from using the term “Russian invasion,” which is what the country’s officials want to label the conflict.
China recently sent soldiers to participate in joint military drills with Russia and sent top officials to meet with their Russian counterparts to underline their strong ties. In a time of harsh sanctions imposed by the West, it has also stepped in to support Russia’s economy.
For both nations, this has been beneficial. China has expanded its imports of the energy commodities as Europe has reduced its reliance on Russian oil and gas, which it is apparently receiving at a discount. Beijing also agreed last month to accept payment for gas in Chinese yuan and Russian roubles, providing Moscow with a much-needed alternative to dollars as a foreign reserve and advancing China’s goals of strengthening the yuan as a global reserve currency.
But it appears that China has set a boundary. According to US intelligence assessments, Moscow is in such urgent need of weapons that it has approached China as well as Iran, and even North Korea for supply. However, there has been no evidence that Beijing has accepted so far. Despite the optimistic portrayal of cooperation provided by both China and Russia, some observers think Mr. Xi will wish to keep some distance between himself and Mr. Putin for a variety of reasons.
The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace’s vice president for research, Evan Feigenbaum, stated that it would be “spectacularly incompetent” to lean even more header toward Moscow at a time when Russia is making the greatest tactical retreat in Ukraine.
Since a large portion of them oppose Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which was formerly a part of the USSR. Emeritus Professor Rosemary Foot stated that Mr. Xi “must also be quite consciously aware that Central Asia is concerned and anxious about what’s going on… he’s trying to be conscious of the environment he’s in.”
China wants to maintain the strong ties it has established in Central Asia, especially given the significant infrastructure investments it has made there, and make sure that these nations do not criticize it too harshly for its contentious policies in the region’s neighboring Xinjiang.