Xi-Putin meet lined up today after both Russia, China left out of Biden summit

Extensive discussions on foreign policy, in view of rising global tensions on the Russia-Ukraine border, are likely to come up on Wednesday in the virtual meeting between Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping.
Russian president Vladimir Putin with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping (File Photo / REUTERS)
Russian president Vladimir Putin with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping (File Photo / REUTERS)
Updated on Dec 15, 2021 07:28 AM IST
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Written by Joydeep Bose | Edited by Amit Chaturvedi, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

Russian president Vladimir Putin is all set to meet his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on Wednesday, their second virtual session this year, days after both the countries were left out of a democracy summit organised by US president Joe Biden in what experts call symptomatic of an ideological “rift” between the influential blocs. 

Amid escalating tensions with the Western powers, China and Russia are strengthening ties; the two nations have in recent times focused much of their bilateral relationship on trade, especially on energy. According to the Reuters news agency, both Beijing and Moscow also share similar approaches in foreign policy with respect to Iran, Syria and Venezuela, and recently revived a push to lift United Nations sanctions on North Korea.

Also Read | Russia, China top agenda as G7 ministers call for unity against authoritarianism

Extensive discussions on foreign policy, in view of rising global tensions on the Russia-Ukraine border, are likely to come up on Wednesday in the virtual meeting between Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov confirmed a day prior that the premiers will be discussing a host of international issues during the upcoming online meeting, including the “aggressive rhetoric” of NATO and the United States pertaining to Ukraine.

“The situation in international affairs, especially on the European continent, is very, very tense, and of course, requires discussion between the allies, between Moscow and Beijing,” the Kremlin spokesman was quoted as saying by the Sputnik news agency. “We see very, very aggressive rhetoric, both from NATO and from the United States of America, this requires our discussion with the Chinese side.”

According to Peskov, the two countries will also discuss regional issues, energy, and bilateral relations. It is to be noted that China had received significant amounts of coal from its northern neighbour amid a gruelling shortage in fossil fuel stocks this year, another indicator of the two nations warming up to each other in an effort to consolidate against the West's influence.

Also Read | ‘US democracy weapon of mass destruction’: China lambasts global summit

China's foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin, on the other hand, did not reveal what the two premiers will discuss but said that full details of the meet will be released afterwards. “At the meeting, the two heads of state will give a full review of China-Russia relations and cooperation in various fields this year and make top-level designs for the development of bilateral ties next year,” he was quoted as saying.

It is, however, not yet clear what Beijing's stance on Ukraine is, even though the situation at the border continues to heat up. Moscow has repeatedly refuted US allegations of preparing an invasion while expressing concerns about the transfer of NATO's military equipment near Russian borders and the increase in the number of Western instructors in Donbas. Russia has also said it has the right to move forces within its own territory.

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