‘No limits friendship’: China’s Xi Jinping wraps up Russia visit, cements strategic, economic ties | World News - Hindustan Times
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‘No limits friendship’: China’s Xi Jinping wraps up Russia visit, cements strategic, economic ties

Mar 22, 2023 05:49 PM IST

Importantly, Beijing and Moscow pledged to “significantly increase” bilateral trade by 2030 with Putin calling for the wider use of the Chinese yuan, in a move not only to weaken the $ but also to work around strict US sanctions

Beijing: Chinese President Xi Jinping returned to China on Wednesday after his high-profile Moscow state visit where he put on a display of solidarity with isolated and embattled Russian President Vladimir Putin over his invasion of Ukraine, jointly calling for a “new world order” but without making any breakthrough to end the conflict in the East European country.

Russian President Vladimir Putin (right) and China’s President Xi Jinping shake hands during a signing ceremony following their talks at the Kremlin in Moscow on Tuesday. (AFP)
Russian President Vladimir Putin (right) and China’s President Xi Jinping shake hands during a signing ceremony following their talks at the Kremlin in Moscow on Tuesday. (AFP)

The meetings between Xi and Putin held over Monday and until late Tuesday, with each referring the other as “old friend”, further cemented ties between Beijing and Moscow, already united by their anti-West hostility and bound by the “no limits friendship” declared when Putin visited Beijing days before invading Ukraine in February, 2022.

On display during the state visit, under the focus of their respective state media coverage, was the personal rapport between Xi and Putin who have met each other 40 times in the past 10 years.

There was no statement from Xi talking about Beijing’s direct support for Moscow on Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine but there was little doubt where Beijing stands on the war.

For Putin, Xi’s visit was a shot in the arm even as he is shunned as a pariah by the West; it helped even more that Xi referred to Putin’s “strong leadership”.

The leaders issued two joint statements, one focusing on economic cooperation and the other on strengthening their strategic partnership.

Chinese official media said Xi and Putin agreed to “…strengthen bilateral ties based on principles of good-neighbourliness, friendship and win-win cooperation, as well as to deepen the China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for a new era”.

The two leaders agreed to cooperate in a number of sectors under the “Pre-2030 Development Plan on Priorities in China-Russia Economic Cooperation”.

Importantly, Beijing and Moscow pledged to “significantly increase” bilateral trade by 2030 with Putin calling for the wider use of the Chinese yuan, in a move not only to weaken the $ but also to work around strict US sanctions.

“We are for the use of the Chinese yuan in settlements between Russia and Asian countries, Africa, Latin America,” Putin said, according to the RIA Novosti news service, adding: “This practice should be further encouraged”.

Under the “Pre-2030 Development Plan”, the two sides agreed to uphold the “principles of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit” and “...maintain the momentum of rapid growth of bilateral trade in goods and services, and commit to significantly increase bilateral trade volume by 2030”.

“They (the two leaders) have committed to improve financial cooperation and steadily increase the proportion of local currency settlement in bilateral trade, investment, loans and other economic and trade transactions to meet market demand,” the statement said.

“They will consolidate all-round energy partnership and strengthen long-term cooperation in key areas of energy,” according to the statement.

Li Haidong, a professor at the Institute of International Relations at the China Foreign Affairs University, told the state-run Global Times that “the high-level mutual trust and mature relations built between the Chinese and Russian leaders show that bilateral ties can withstand the impacts of the profound changes that the world is experiencing at the moment.”

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