September 30, 2022
Xi Jinping to leave China for the first time in more than 2 years, meet Vladimir Putin

Xi Jinping to leave China for the first time in more than 2 years, meet Vladimir Putin

Xi Jinping attends a meeting with Vladimir Putin in Beijing in February 2022. (file)

Beijing:

Xi Jinping will leave China this week for the first time in more than two years to visit Central Asia, where he is set to cement his place as the most powerful Chinese leader after Mao Zedong, just a month before Vladimir Putin. Will meet you

His first overseas trip since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, shows how confident Xi is about his grip on power in China and how dangerous the global situation has become: Russia with the West on Ukraine A confrontation, crisis over Taiwan and a faltering global economy.

Xi is on a state visit to Kazakhstan on Wednesday and will then meet Putin at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in Uzbekistan’s ancient Silk Road city of Samarkand, according to Kazakhstan and the Kremlin.

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

The meeting will give President Xi an opportunity to underscore his clout while Putin may demonstrate Russia’s leaning towards Asia; Both leaders can show their opposition to the United States as the West wants to punish Russia for the Ukraine war.

“I think it’s all about Xi: he wants to show how confident he is domestically and that he should be seen as the international leader of nations opposed to Western hegemony,” author of “Red Flags” George Magnus said. Xi’s Challenges

“Personally I think Xi will be most concerned about how Putin’s war is going and indeed if Putin or Russia will play out at some point in the near future because China still needs an anti-Western leadership in Moscow. “

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

The deep “no boundaries” partnership between China’s rising superpower and Russia’s natural resources titan is one of the most intriguing geopolitical developments of recent years – and one that the West is watching with concern.

Once a senior participant in the global communist hierarchy, Russia is now considered a junior partner of a resurgent communist China following 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 abound in this partnership, there is no sign that Xi is willing to give up 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 grew by almost a third in the first 7 months of 2022.

she supreme

Xi is widely expected to break precedent and secure a third five-year leadership term at the Communist Party Congress, which begins on October 16.

While Xi has met with Putin in person 38 times since becoming president of China in 2013, he has met with Joe Biden in person since becoming US president in 2021.

Xi last met with Putin in February, when the Russian president ordered an invasion of Ukraine that killed tens of thousands and sowed the seeds of chaos through the global economy.

At that meeting at the opening of the Winter Olympics, Xi and Putin announced a “no-limits” partnership, backing each other over the standoff over Ukraine and Taiwan, with the promise of more cooperation against the West.

China has refrained from condemning Russia’s operation against Ukraine or calling it an “invasion”, in line with the Kremlin, which describes the war as “a special military operation”.

“The big message is really not that Xi is supporting Putin, because it is very clear that Xi supports Putin,” said Professor Steve Tsang, director of the China Institute at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London.

“The big sign is that he, Xi Jinping, is going out of China for the Party Congress for the first time since the pandemic. If there was going to be a conspiracy against him, it would be when the conspiracy was hatched.” And he clearly believes that the conspiracy is not going to happen because he is out of the country.”

Xi, the son of a communist revolutionary, is set to secure a historic third leadership term at the 20th Communist Party Congress that begins October 16. He last left China in January 2020, before the world went into a COVID lockdown.

Kremlin chief

After the West imposed the most severe sanctions on Moscow in modern history because of the war in Ukraine, Putin says Russia is turning to Asia after centuries of viewing the West as the crucible of economic growth, technology and war .

Casting the West as a collapsing, US-dominated coalition that aims to bind — or even destroy — Russia, Putin’s worldview chimes with Xi, who sees China as America’s side. Led, presents as an alternative to the post-World War II order.

Putin’s aide Ushakov said the Xi-Putin meeting would be “very important”. He did not provide any further details.

As Europe seeks to move away from Russian energy imports, Putin will seek to boost energy exports to China and Asia.

He will also hold a three-way Russian-Chinese summit with Mongolia – a potentially too short route for Russian energy from Western Siberia to China.

He said last week that a major gas export route to China had been agreed via Mongolia. Gazprom has been studying for several years the possibility of a major new gas pipeline – powering Siberia 2 – carrying Russian gas through Mongolia to China.

It would carry 50 billion cubic meters of gas per year, equivalent to what Russia typically sells to Europe—or Nord Stream 1 annual volumes.

The SCO, which includes Russia, China, India, Pakistan and four Central Asian states, is due to acknowledge Iran as one of Moscow’s major allies in the Middle East.

(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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