Beijing and Moscow pledge to a new world order… and Washington: their relations are more like a “marriage of convenience”
“Comrade Xi” to “dear friend” Putin upon his departure: There are changes that have not occurred in 100 years… When we are together, we lead these changes
Wednesday – 29 Shaaban 1444 AH – March 22, 2023 AD
Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Moscow yesterday, March 21 (EPA)
Moscow – Beijing: «Middle East»
As Chinese President Xi Jinping prepares to leave Moscow after a three-day summit with his “dear friend,” Russian President Vladimir Putin, in Moscow, sirens sound across Kiev, and in northern and eastern Ukraine, with reports of drone attacks.
The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said today (Wednesday) that Russian forces launched a “massive air strike” overnight, while Xi was in Moscow, by launching 21 Shahed-136 drones. “If China wants to play a constructive role here in this conflict (the Ukrainian war), it should pressure Russia to withdraw its forces from Ukraine and Ukrainian sovereign territory,” said John Kirby, a spokesman for the US National Security Council, noting that Xi should speak to the president. Ukrainian Volodymyr Zelensky.
For his part, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said he had “invited” China to dialogue and was “waiting for a response” from Beijing. He added during a press conference, “We offered China to become a partner” in the search for a settlement to the conflict in Ukraine. Zelensky continued, addressing the Chinese: “We invite you to dialogue. We are waiting for your response,” adding, “We are receiving signals, but nothing concrete” at this stage.
The Chinese president left Moscow today, after showing great solidarity with his counterpart, the Russian president, in the face of the West, and the visit ended with the two leaders pledging to work together to form a new world order. Energy and trade issues dominated the hours-long summit between Xi and Putin.
“Now there are changes that have not happened in 100 years,” Xi told Putin as he left. When we are together, we lead these changes. Putin responded by saying, “I agree with you.” “Take care of yourself, my dear friend, please,” Shi added. But Putin’s tone was completely different with his guest, whom he described as a “dear friend” and “comrade Xi.” The two leaders even drank during a state dinner held in the “Kremlin” a toast to the “prosperity and well-being” of the Russian and Chinese peoples. Putin said during the dinner that he sees “unlimited potential” in Russian-Chinese cooperation.
On the visit, a statement issued by China said: “They (the two leaders) share the view that this relationship has far exceeded the bilateral scope, and has acquired critical importance for the global landscape and the future of humanity.” “We are working in solidarity to form a more just and democratic multipolar world order, which should be based on the central role of the United Nations and its Security Council, international law and the goals and principles of the United Nations Charter,” Putin said in a statement published on the “Kremlin” website.
Washington described relations between Beijing and Moscow after the summit between Putin and Xi as more like a “marriage of convenience” rather than a true alliance. Xi said he had “constructive talks” in the “Kremlin” on the second day of his three-day official visit, citing in particular the expansion of economic cooperation with Russia.
After the summit, the two leaders hailed the “special” relationship between their countries as entering a “new era.” Xi’s trip to Moscow is an important support for the Russian president, who was issued, last week, with an arrest warrant from the International Criminal Court, against the background of the illegal “deportation” of Ukrainian children. After a 3-day visit, the two countries signed agreements on extending the strategic partnership. With no sign of a breakthrough in ending the war in Ukraine.
Energy and trade issues dominated the talks, which lasted several hours. In addition to strategic issues, the meeting between Putin and Xi touched on the issue of strengthening the economic partnership between the two countries, especially with regard to oil materials. The Chinese president’s visit to Russia comes as Moscow has massively reoriented its economy towards China, in the face of heavy Western sanctions targeting it.
In this context, Putin announced that Beijing and Moscow had reached an agreement on the huge gas pipeline project “Power of Siberia 2”, which will connect Siberia with northwestern China. “All agreements have been concluded,” the Russian president said, explaining that “with (the project) entering service, 50 billion cubic meters of gas will pass” through this gas pipeline, which aims to significantly increase Russian deliveries to China.
Earlier, Putin assured his Chinese counterpart that Moscow could meet China’s “growing demand” for energy resources. In evidence of this, the Russian giant “Gazprom” announced, yesterday (Tuesday), the delivery of record daily shipments to Beijing on Monday through the “Power of Siberia” pipeline, which passes in the Russian Far East towards northeastern China.
Xi made almost no mention of the conflict in Ukraine during his three-day visit, and said China had a “neutral position”. The White House responded, saying that China’s position was not neutral, and urged Beijing to pressure Russia to end Europe’s biggest conflict since World War II.
On Monday, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken questioned Beijing’s proposals for “peace” in Ukraine, and said: “The world should not be fooled by any tactical decision by Russia, with the support of China or any other country, to freeze the war on its own terms.” A spokeswoman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry said today that Beijing supports de-escalation of tensions arising from the Ukrainian crisis and holding peace talks to resolve it, stressing its opposition to what it called “adding fuel to the fire.”
The spokeswoman said on her Twitter account that China does not have a “selfish agenda” regarding the issue of Ukraine, in which Russia has launched a military operation for more than a year. “We did not take sides, add fuel to the fire, or take advantage of the situation for selfish gain,” she added. All we have done is to support the peace talks.
Today, the Kremlin announced that it was not surprised by the West’s “hostile” response after the summit. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “With regard to the collective reaction emanating from Western countries, the nature of their unfriendly and hostile reaction to all issues is not surprising to anyone.”
Putin praised the Chinese leader for the peace plan he proposed last month, blaming Kiev and the West for rejecting it. Putin said: “We believe that many items in the peace plan put forward by China are in line with the Russian positions, and can be considered as a basis for a peace settlement when they are ready for that in the West and in Kiev. But we do not see, so far, such a willingness on their part ».
The West sees the Chinese peace plan as a ploy to buy time for Putin to reorganize his forces and consolidate his hold on the lands he occupied in Ukraine. Kirby said that the United States does not want a cease-fire in Ukraine; Because it would allow Russia to retain its territorial gains and allow Putin to regroup. Kirby added that “the cease-fire at the present time, and the freezing of the lines in place, basically gives him the time and space he needs to try to re-equip the equipment and forces and compensate for the expenditure of resources.”
China’s 12-point plan does not include specific details on how to end the bloody year-old war, which has claimed tens of thousands of lives and forced millions to flee. A joint statement by the two leaders included accusations familiar to the West, that Washington was undermining global stability, and that NATO was breaking into the Asia-Pacific region.
The two leaders attacked the West strongly, accusing the United States of “undermining” global security to preserve its “military advantage,” while expressing their “concern” about the growing presence of “NATO” in Asia. Russia and China said that they reject any nuclear war, while tensions with the West reached an apogee, and they confirmed that everyone would lose in a similar confrontation.
In the joint declaration, the two countries made it clear that there can be no winners in a nuclear war, and that “a war like this” should never happen. Putin and Xi’s statements came after bilateral talks in the “Kremlin”, which aimed above all to show the strength of relations between Russia and China, in the context of the intense tensions between these two countries and the Westerners. “We signed a declaration on deepening strategic partnership and bilateral relations entering a new era,” Xi said, while Putin praised the “special” relations between Beijing and Moscow, which show their unity in the face of Westerners.