China wants to “stand firmly with Russia”

During his state visit to Moscow, China's head of state Xi praised relations with Russia. Both countries are "good neighbors" and "reliable partners".

However, Xi caused a stir with statements about the 2024 Russian election.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping underlined their strategic partnership at a meeting in Moscow. “Our cooperation in the international arena undoubtedly helps to strengthen the fundamental principles of world order and multipolarity,” Putin said when he received Xi at the Kremlin.

The Chinese leader said the partnership between his country and Russia contributes to international fairness and justice. Both were obviously alluding to what they considered to be too great an influence of the USA on world politics.

Xi: Visit will give “new impetus”.

To kick things off, Xi expressed confidence that his trip will bring “new impetus” to bilateral ties. China and Russia are “good neighbors” and “reliable partners,” he said upon his arrival, according to Russian news agencies.

China is ready to “stand firmly on Russia’s side” in favor of “true multilateralism” and “multipolarity in the world”. He added: “In a world of volatility and change, China will continue to work with Russia to preserve the international system with the UN at its core.”

Putin emphasizes similarities

Putin highlighted the parallels between the two countries. Moscow and Beijing have “many common tasks and goals,” he said in the Kremlin. Putin described the Chinese President’s first foreign trip to Russia in his new term as “symbolic”.

The start of the meeting was characterized by all kinds of cordiality. “China has made a huge leap forward in its development in recent years,” Putin said. “We’re even a little jealous.” Xi acknowledged the compliment with a smile.

Xi believes in Putin’s election victory in 2024

According to reports from Russian state media, Xi was convinced that Putin will emerge victorious from the 2024 presidential election. “I know that next year is the presidential election in your country. Thanks to your strong leadership, Russia has made significant strides in achieving successes and the country has prospered in recent years. I am convinced that the Russian people will support you in your good intentions,” said Xi, according to the Russian translation, at the start of the meeting in the Kremlin.

This statement made Russia’s state media sit up and take notice because Putin has not yet declared his candidacy at all. The 70-year-old did not respond to Xi’s words. The election is scheduled for March next year. The Kremlin, however, denied that Xi had said that Putin would run for election. “Chairman Xi did not say that Putin will take part in the election. Chairman Xi has expressed his belief that Russians support Putin, and here one can only share his belief,” said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

Putin welcomes Xi’s Ukraine plan

In February, China published a position paper in which the country called for dialogue and respect for the territorial sovereignty of all countries in the war against Ukraine. He welcomes Xi’s plan to “resolve the acute crisis in Ukraine,” Putin said. Peskov announced that Putin will explain Moscow’s view of the conflict in Ukraine in detail to Xi at a dinner. Discussions on other topics should then take place on Tuesday.

China has not condemned Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, but has repeatedly spoken out against the use of nuclear weapons and presented a vague peace initiative in February. This called for a ceasefire and talks, but has so far produced no tangible progress. Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said, “China will maintain its objective and fair position on the Ukraine crisis and play a constructive role in promoting peace talks.”

Ukraine appeals to Xi

The “first and most important clause of a formula for the successful implementation of the ‘Chinese peace plan'” is “the surrender or the withdrawal of the Russian occupying forces from Ukrainian territory,” said the secretary of the Ukrainian Security and Defense Council, Oleksiy Danilov, on Twitter. Ukraine’s foreign ministry called on Xi to use his influence with Putin to push for an end to the war.

“We expect Beijing to use its influence over Moscow to persuade it to end the aggressive war against Ukraine,” ministry spokesman Oleg Nikolenko told AFP.

Pistorius hopes for progress

Federal Defense Minister Boris Pistorius hopes that Xi’s visit will put pressure on Putin for a negotiated solution to the war. “I hope that he uses the opportunities that he has because of his influence to convince Putin (…) to come to the negotiating table,” said the SPD politician on the sidelines of an EU meeting in Brussels . He hopes that Xi will find and use this path.

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