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China and Russia celebrate close relations. What they have in common is their aversion to the US

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Red carpets, anthems and cannon salvos. After a while, a military parade, an orchestra and a group of children waving flowers and flags – this is what the Chinese leader said on Thursday Xi Jinping welcomed Vladimir Putin in front of Beijing's Great Hall of the People, the seat of the Chinese Parliament.

The two-day visit is Putin's first foreign trip since he was sworn in for his fifth term as president of Russia.

New world order?

In a joint statement The leaders of China and Russia announced a new chapter in their relationswhich they named in February 2022 “partnership without borders”. They also criticized the global policies of the US, their main rival, and the Western-dominated world order. They opposed him to a vision of a multipolar order in which China and Russia would play a key role.

The United States still thinks in terms of the Cold War and are guided by the logic of confrontation between political blocs, putting the security of narrow groups above regional security and stability, the statement said. The leaders of both authoritarian states also condemned international sanctions against Russia and the seizure of Russian assets by Western governments.

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According to Putin's adviser, Yuri Ushakov the talks concerned the war in Ukraine, the international situation in Asia, and energy and trade.

Xi and Putin also announced closer military cooperationin the field of industry and new technologies, in the space sector, nuclear energy, artificial intelligence and renewable energy sources.

According to news agencies, the Chinese leader allegedly told the Kremlin host that the Middle Kingdom was ready together with Russia strive for the development and “national rebirth” of both countries.

Raw materials and trade

On Friday, Putin visited the region near the border with Russia The city of Harbin with a population of 6 millionwhere he assured that Russia will guarantee its neighbor's energy security. The talks were to be held there, among other things, about the delayed gas pipeline construction project The Power of Siberia 2which would connect Siberian gas fields with China.

After the war in Ukraine started China has become the main recipient of Russian oil and gas. Chinese purchases, on terms favorable to Beijing, help Moscow finance its military operations. The Chinese are also supplementing the shortage of products that began to be felt on the Volga as a result international sanctions. Last year, Sino-Russian trade turnover exceeded a record USD 240 billion.

Vladimir Putin's visit is widely commented on by the media strictly controlled by the Chinese government, and the meeting of Xi and the Russian president was the top trending topic on social media platform Weibo on Thursday.

On Friday, the Xinhua news agency emphasized the cooperation between China and Russia “will bring tangible benefits to both nations and make a positive contribution to promoting the world's common development and progress.”

State tabloid “Global Times” even before Putin's arrival, he published an interview with the Chinese ambassador in Moscow, Zhang Hanhui, who described Russia and China as “natural partners”. Earlier, the newspaper also quoted Kremlin philosopher and propagandist Alexander Dugin, who named both countries “two pillars of a multipolar world”. In his opinion, cooperation between them will encourage other countries to build a new global order.

The daily also referred to observers who said: Moscow and Beijing can strengthen coordination of positions on international affairs, including the war in Ukraine, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and policy towards the countries of the Global South. In their opinion, the upcoming US presidential elections may be an opportunity for “various parties” to end the Ukrainian conflict, with the People's Republic of China as mediator.

Long-term alliance

Experts asked by Interia to comment agree that For Vladimir Putin, the most important goal of his visit to China was to obtain further helpwhich will enable the continuation of the offensive in Ukraine.

– Putin probably informed Xi Jinping about the situation on the battlefield, which recently it has turned in Russia's favor. He is also trying to get more material support, which will allow him to continue financing military operations. This could include purchasing more raw materials and expanding access to the Chinese financial market, says Dr. Dylan Loh, a specialist in Chinese foreign policy.

Loh emphasizes that the core of long-term cooperation between the aspiring powers is the desire to change the US-dominated world order, which is unfavorable to their interests.

– There is a clear convergence between how threats are perceived in China and Russia. The United States is trying deter and disrupt the security and global influence of both countries. Moscow and Beijing also notice ongoing changes in the international order the current US dominance is weakening – explains the analyst.

Subordinate partner

Although Xi Jinping tries to create the impression that the Sino-Russian alliance is equal, it is not Russia, with an economy ten times smaller than China's, is the weaker partner in this duo.

– Western sanctions make China an indispensable supplier of goods and equipment important to Russians, but they are rapidly increasing it Moscow's dependence on Beijing – says Dr. Ian Chong, a political scientist from the National University of Singapore, in an interview with Interia. – It seems that Russia at the moment agrees to accept the status of subordination to China – judges.

According to Chong, Chinese aid not only allows Putin to keep the economy functioning and put it on a war track, but indirectly it also guarantees him to stay in power. In turn, Xi Jinping and the Communist Party are happy the Kremlin's distraction from the United States and their European allies from putting pressure on China.

He adds that although Russia is important for the Chinese authorities – also due to access to cheap energy and reducing the risk of interruption of energy supplies by sea – but not as crucial as China for Russia. The analyst points out that too close ties with the Middle Kingdom may be dangerous for Vladimir Putin.

There is a risk of becoming too dependent on China. Then, if serious economic problems occur there, it may turn out that the resources Russia was counting on will simply disappear. In addition Beijing, being in a much stronger position, can impose conditions on Moscow.

– The PRC may, for example, demand even better conditions for the supply of raw materials it needs, or demand access to advanced military technologies developed in Russia, which Russia has previously been reluctant to divide – says Dr. Ian Chong.

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