Putin arrives in China and meets with Xi Jinping: what is behind the alliance between Moscow and Beijing and what are the threats to Ukraine
On the morning of October 17, Russian dictator Vladimir Putin arrived in China to participate in an economic forum and met with the country's leader Xi Jinping. This is the second foreign visit for the terrorist head of state after he was declared wanted by the International Criminal Court.
Experts believe that it only emphasizes Beijing's economic and diplomatic support for Moscow amid its war against Ukraine. Read more about this in the OBOZ.UA article (to see photos and videos, scroll down to the end).
What will Putin do in China?
In March 2023, the International Criminal Court in The Hague issued an arrest warrant for Putin, accusing him of war crimes. According to the warrant, he can be arrested and handed over to the ICC in any of the 123 countries that have ratified the Rome Statute. However, three days ago, the leader of the aggressor country quietly traveled to Kyrgyzstan, and now he has arrived in China. The latter is known to be friendly to Russia and its dictatorial leader, and the media repeatedly report evidence of Beijing's assistance to the Kremlin in its war against Ukraine.
Putin arrived in Beijing on Tuesday, accompanied by security guards, and his plane was met at the airport by Chinese diplomats and an honor guard. It is noted that his visit is a demonstration of support for Chinese leader Xi Jinping's One Belt, One Road initiative, aimed at building infrastructure and expanding the country's foreign influence.
A little later, the Kremlin released a video of the Russian and Chinese leaders shaking hands. Putin arrived at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, where a reception was organized for the heads of the delegations participating in the forum.
Russian media boasted that their leader was "invited to the forum as the main guest" and would speak at the opening after Xi Jinping.
In an interview with Chinese state media ahead of his visit, Putin praised these large-scale but loosely connected projects.
"Yes, some people think this is China's attempt to put someone under its control, but we see the opposite - just a desire for cooperation," he said.
Thus, on October 18, Putin will attend the international forum "One Belt, One Road" in Beijing, dedicated to the global economic project of the Chinese capital. Xi Jinping has invited leaders from 130 countries to this event.
"The Russian leader will be one of the highest-ranking guests at a meeting marking the 10th anniversary of Xi Jinping's announcement of the One Belt, One Road policy, which has burdened countries like Zambia and Sri Lanka with heavy debts after they signed contracts with Chinese companies to build roads and airports and other public works they otherwise could not afford," AP writes.
The Kremlin's press service said that the dictator is going to hold talks with the presidents of Mongolia, Laos and Vietnam, as well as the prime ministers of Thailand and Pakistan on the sidelines of the forum.
What is behind the China-Russia alliance?
Answering journalists' questions about his visit to China, Putin said that it would include talks on projects related to the forum's theme. According to him, Moscow wants to "achieve common development goals," and the parties will discuss the growing economic and financial ties between the two countries.
At the same time, analysts point out that China and Russia have formed an informal alliance against the United States and other democratic countries, which is now complicated by the war between Israel and Hamas. Beijing has sought to balance its ties with Tel Aviv with economic relations with Iran and Syria, which are strongly supported by the Kremlin.
In addition, Beijing and Moscow have financial ties in the energy, high-tech, and financial sectors. The importance of China as an export destination for Russia has also increased recently.
Alexander Gabuev, director of the Russian Carnegie Eurasia Center, said that, from China's perspective, "Russia is a safe and friendly neighbor, a source of cheap raw materials, support for Chinese initiatives on the world stage, and a source of military technology, some of which is not available in China." He called China Russia's "economic lifeline" in the face of harsh sanctions imposed on it for its war against Ukraine.
"It is the main market for Russian goods, it is a country that provides its currency and payment system to settle Russia's trade with the outside world-with China itself, but also with many other countries. And it is also the main source of sophisticated technological imports, including dual-use goods that go to the Russian military machine," the expert added.
In his opinion, although the Kremlin and Beijing are unlikely to create a full-fledged military alliance, their defense cooperation will grow. Since both countries are "self-sufficient in terms of security" and benefit from the partnership, neither really needs security guarantees from the other. They also "preach strategic autonomy".
The two are expected to have closer military cooperation, greater interoperability, cooperation in joint force projection, particularly in places like the Arctic, and more joint efforts to develop missile defense, "making nuclear planning more difficult for the United States and its allies in Asia and Europe."
The analysts reminded that China and the former Soviet Union were rivals during the Cold War for influence among leftist states, but have since become partners in the economic, military, and diplomatic spheres.
A few weeks before Russia's large-scale armed invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Putin met with Xi Jinping in Beijing, and they signed an agreement promising "unlimited" relations. However, Beijing's attempts to present itself as a neutral peace mediator in Russia's war with Ukraine were rejected by the international community.
Xi Jinping visited Moscow in March 2023 as part of a tumultuous exchange of views between the two countries. China condemns the international sanctions imposed on Russia, but it has not directly addressed the arrest warrant for Putin issued by the International Criminal Court on charges of involvement in the abduction of thousands of children from Ukraine.
At the same time, observers remind that the Chinese leader, while hosting Putin today, still has to balance close personal relations with him and the reality of dependence on many levels between the economies of the United States and China.
As reported by OBOZ.UA, the Russian Federation recently publicly admitted that it receives drones from China. In particular, the Minister of Finance of the aggressor country Anton Siluanov said that almost all of the imported drones they have were provided by Beijing.