At the invitation of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chinese President Xi Jinping may visit Moscow this month on the first anniversary of Russia’s “special military operation” against Ukraine, the Russian foreign ministry said. But a spokesman for China’s foreign ministry declined to confirm that on Wednesday.
“This year, Russia and China will work together to further strengthen and promote bilateral relations between the two governments.” Russian state news agency TASS quoted the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs as saying. “Russian President Vladimir Putin has invited Chinese President Xi Jinping for an official visit this spring.”
According to the report, Xi Jinping’s visit will be a “core event” on the bilateral agenda between the two countries in 2023. The Russian Foreign Ministry did not specify the exact date of Xi Jinping’s visit. February 24 this year marks the first anniversary of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. “China and Russia maintain close cooperation at all levels to promote the development of bilateral relations and safeguard the world’s contribution to peace and development.” But she declined to confirm the visit, “As for the specific visit, I have no information to share at this time.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin extended a visit invitation to Xi Jinping in a year-end video at the end of December last year. The two sides reaffirmed their cooperation in various fields including energy and trade. If confirmed, the visit would mark Xi’s first visit to Russia since June 2019. At that time, Xi Jinping participated in the economic forum held in St. Petersburg. It was at that forum that when he was asked by reporters about his views on US President Trump’s trade war, he said he wanted to read his notebook. Xi and Putin last met at the SCO leaders’ summit in Uzbekistan last September.
A sign of despair over the existing world order:
“I think it shows that China wants to balance what they might think is a Western-dominated world, and it does that by supporting the only other big country that has a problem — and that’s Russia,” said Yan Zhang, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. Ian Johnson) said. “In a way, you can take this as a sign of (Beijing’s) desperation for this world order, when you look at the list of China’s allies, there is no decent country at all.”
The Russian foreign ministry statement on Monday also said China’s top foreign affairs official, Wang Yi, would visit Moscow in February in preparation for Xi’s visit. The statement said Moscow wanted to push Russia-China relations to a “new level,” adding that Russia wanted to achieve its goal of $200 billion in annual trade between the two countries ahead of schedule.
“Such a visit would highlight Beijing’s strategic choice to side with Moscow in its geostrategic competition with the West and send a provocative message,” said an article published in the South China Morning Post on Tuesday (Jan. 31).
The paper was a rare criticism of Xi Jinping’s possible visit. “It is time for Beijing to distance itself from Putin’s disastrous incursion because there is no doubt that Moscow and Putin himself will face serious consequences,” said the former diplomat, who signed himself Shi Jiangtao. “Putin will be the biggest winner.”
China is key to Russia’s fight against Western sanctions:
Meanwhile, a recent report by a nonprofit said Russia is promoting trade with China to counter Western sanctions, and that China has become a major supplier of key technologies that Russia can use for military purposes. China has emerged as a supplier of some of Russia’s key technologies that could be used for military purposes, according to a report by the Washington-based Free Russia Foundation that analyzed 40 million Russian customs record entries. Data show that China sold drones worth $3.3 million to Russia last year; China has become Russia’s most important source of semiconductors and integrated circuits.
Despite the sanctions, Russia will run its largest current account surplus on record in 2022, the report said. The surplus of $227 billion in 2022 is more than double the previous record ($122 billion in 2021). Sanctions lead to a 16% contraction in Russia’s imports for the whole of 2022. The first months of the war saw a significant contraction of 35%, followed by a recovery that experts expect to continue into 2023.
Russia’s total exports rose by more than 30% between January and September 2022 compared to the same period in 2021, mainly driven by oil and gas exports. Zhang Yan believes that the rapid growth of Russian trade is “largely due to the rising price of raw materials and the increase in Russian imports.” A more reliable way to source raw materials and natural resources.”
But Zhang Yan believes that there is no evidence that China has violated the US sanctions against Russia. “The report talks about potentially dual-use technology, and I don’t think that’s a violation of international sanctions. If it’s a violation, I think we should have seen the response from the U.S. State Department.”
Does Russia plan to assign half of the country to China as a special economic zone?
When Guanzhong, an emeritus professor of economics at Trinity College in the United States, said that one of the key points of Xi Jinping’s visit to Russia and Putin’s discussion may be the huge temptation proposed by former Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev when he visited Beijing last December. the plan: “Medvedev’s proposal is actually to allocate half of Russia’s huge land to China as a special economic zone for China to develop.” When Guanzhong said. “From a purely economic point of view, this is very good news for China’s long-term economic development. If the two sides develop such a relationship, it will improve the economic strength of both countries.”
“For Xi Jinping, he naturally wants to have both ways,” Wen said. “Europe, America, and Japan buy his products, and he can get cheap raw materials from Russia, and then process them, earn a labor fee, and solve at least one unemployment problem.”
But Wen Guanzhong said, not to mention the oligopolistic nature of the Russian system, the nationalism, and greed of being unwilling to be a younger brother, “If China and Russia develop closer and closer economic cooperation, the West may also further strengthen its relationship with China. It is inevitable to deepen the cut.” When Guanzhong said. “So it is still impossible for China to completely avoid the right and wrong issue of who is the aggressor in Russia’s war with Ukraine.”