With Xi Jinping’s visit to Vladimir Putin in Russia, both statesmen want to show that we are important to one another. Nonetheless, commentators at home and abroad see differences between the two states.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and China’s head of state and party leader Xi Jinping continue their talks in Moscow on Tuesday. After starting on Monday with a four-and-a-half-hour one-to-one talk about the war in Ukraine, the main day of the three-day visit will focus on negotiations with government delegations. It is also about economic cooperation.
According to the Kremlin, the signing of two major agreements to expand an “all-encompassing partnership” and “strategic cooperation” is planned. Defense Minister Shoigu also attended the meeting. According to the Kremlin, questions of military-technical cooperation are also on the agenda. The West fears that China could supply weapons to neighboring Russia for the war of aggression against Ukraine.
Xi’s visit to Russia suits Putin
The visit from Beijing is also convenient for Putin because it allows him to show that he is not internationally isolated. China has not condemned Russia’s war against Ukraine and is committed to peace talks. Xi Jinping initially emphasized China’s neutral position. China is considered a close ally of Russia. At the same time, Beijing has so far largely complied with the international sanctions against Moscow in order not to become the target of punitive measures itself.
This is how newspapers from Germany and Europe comment on Xi’s visit to Moscow:
“Corriere della Sera”, Italy: “Since unleashing aggression against Ukraine, the tsar (Vladimir Putin) has distanced himself from everything and everyone, banishing visitors and guests to the other end of a six-meter-long oval table. This rule could not apply to the ‘dear friend’ (Xi Jinping), who came from Beijing to break the Russian leader’s isolation, shows Putin that he is not alone.
Xi has more messages: he masquerades as a global statesman; he wraps his solidarity with Moscow in twelve points ranging from ceasefire to rebuilding devastated Ukraine; he tries to convince the Europeans of his peacemaking goodwill; and finally he explains to Joe Biden that China can always turn to Russia to break the encirclement on the Asian front.
A Chinese proverb says: ‘They sleep together but have different dreams.’ That sounds perfect for the two ‘great friends’ Xi and Putin. One might add that they share a common nightmare: being surrounded by the West.”
“Latvijas Avize”, Latvia: “China’s head of state Xi Jinping is the most important foreign guest to pay a state visit to Moscow since Russia attacked Ukraine. But even the sophisticated measures of the protocol could not hide the increasing asymmetry between the two countries in terms of military and economic power. Since Putin and Xi last met in China a few weeks before the Russian invasion, the Kremlin’s political and economic situation has deteriorated, and Russia has become even more dependent on its large Asian neighbor.
China has now become the big brother on whose favor the Russia of internationally sanctioned Putin depends. The fact that Beijing has declared a ‘friendship without borders’ to Putin-Russia and at the same time is trying to position itself as a mediator in possible peace talks in Ukraine also shows the contradictions in Chinese politics.”
“La Vanguardia”, Spain: “Xi Jinping has just achieved a great deal with the until recently unimaginable rapprochement between Iran and Saudi Arabia. He began a three-day visit to Moscow yesterday to try something much more difficult, namely to facilitate peace in Ukraine. China’s President is the closest candidate to mediation because of his superiority over Vladimir Putin, as Russia desperately needs China right now, and unlike other mediators who are not recognized by either party, the Ukrainian government has already awaited a meeting with Xi asked.
The positions of both sides are still far apart and an agreement seems like a utopia. Russia wants to keep the annexed areas of Donbass, Cherson and Zaporizhia, Kiev wants them back. Putin has few options and the road to peace will only be possible with the help of Xi Jinping. Certainly the time for an agreement has not yet come, but it seems clear that the Chinese president will be a key figure when it comes to that. His influence in the world is increasing.”
“Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung”, Germany: “…China [hat] no interest in … Russia losing the war. That would give the West, most notably the United States, more leeway in its increasingly global rivalry with Beijing. It would also be bad for Xi if Putin’s system failed, because that would be a widely visible setback for the authoritarian model of rule to which he is also committed. After all, the People’s Republic is an economic beneficiary of the new geopolitical circumstances because it not only has cheap access to Russian oil, but can also increase exports to the neighboring country at a time when trade relations with the West are becoming more difficult. In short, Xi has good reasons for fostering friendship with Putin, but few for acting as a neutral mediator between Moscow and Kyiv….”
“Augsburger Allgemeine”, Germany: “Moscow and Beijing are collaborating against the United States. But China is cleverly exploiting Russia’s weak position for itself. It obtains cheap oil and gas, which Russia can no longer get rid of in Europe because of the sanctions. It supplies cars, chips and commercial Drones to Russia, which can also be used by the military The Kremlin sees the meeting as a sign of strength against the West, but Putin fails to see how much he is currying favor with Beijing.
“Magyar Nemzet”, Hungary: “The Russian-Chinese rapprochement, which at the time of the Cold War still faced serious differences, encompasses a landmass that stretches from the Baltic States to the Pacific Ocean and Korea. If you add (Moscow-friendly) Iran, you have two nuclear powers yet a potential third Is that good for the world Not sure, but Ukraine-crazy Europe eliminated itself to have a say in these transformations.
The British, the French and the Germans each show signs of crisis in different ways. The other European countries – at least in terms of global politics – do not fatten the herb. Bad times are coming for those who believe that the world only stretches from Los Angeles to Slovakia, which is already supplying fighter jets to the Ukrainians.”
I have been working in the news industry for over 6 years, first as a reporter and now as an editor. I have covered politics extensively, and my work has appeared in major newspapers and online news outlets around the world. In addition to my writing, I also contribute regularly to 24 Hours World.