The 69-year-old Chinese leader is expected to visit Moscow next year.
During the nine months of Russia’s full-scale war against Ukraine, China took the position of “neither yours nor ours.”
But now the leader of China, Xi Jinping, has instructed the government to establish closer economic relations with the Russian Federation, which may indicate that Beijing has finally decided to side with the Russian Federation.
This was reported by The Wall Street Journal, citing Beijing’s political advisers.
The publication’s authors write that the leader of China “has admired Putin for a long time” and that he “doubles his bet on the president of the Russian Federation.” The 69-year-old Chinese leader is expected to visit Moscow next year, probably after China’s legislative session in March, Russian Ambassador to Beijing Igor Morgulov told reporters recently.
China’s plan calls for increasing Chinese imports of Russian oil, gas, and agricultural goods, strengthening the energy partnership in the Arctic, and increasing Chinese investment in Russian infrastructure, such as railways and ports.
In a written statement, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said, “China and Russia are each other’s comprehensive strategic partners. The development of bilateral relations is based on non-alignment, non-confrontation, and non-targeting of third parties.”
Xi calls the decision to deepen economic cooperation between China and Russia a “turn” in the bilateral relations between the countries, which intensified immediately before the Russian invasion of Ukraine and were “put on pause” for some time.
“China’s partnership with Russia has helped shield Moscow from the economic fallout of Western sanctions, allowing leader Vladimir Putin to continue his war. Russia and China conduct more financial transactions in rubles and yuan than euros or dollars, which helps protect them from future sanctions and impose Chinese currency into wider circulation,” WSJ journalists note.
However, the recent escalation of the war in Ukraine forces China to maintain a more balanced position because China still needs Western technology and close ties with other foreign countries to compete with the United States.
The diplomat, extraordinary, and plenipotentiary ambassador of Ukraine, Valery Chaly, believes that China is taking a position that is currently in favor of Russia.