Putin travels to Beijing to strengthen his alliance with Xi Jinping in the face of the new conflict between Israel and Hamas | International

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The Moscow-Beijing axis synchronizes its clocks again at a time of multiple global fires. Russian President Vladimir Putin is scheduled to land this Tuesday in Beijing, where he will meet with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping. The event was scheduled months ago, on the occasion of the international forum that marks the 10th anniversary of the New Silk Road, the infrastructure megaprogram with which the Asian giant seeks to connect to the world. The meeting between both leaders, which is expected on Wednesday, comes at a critical moment, with the outbreak of a new war between Israel and Gaza that threatens to open a new gap in the geopolitical scene and adds to Russia's offensive in Ukraine. .

Since Putin decreed the full-scale invasion of the former Soviet republic, it is not common to see the Russian leader traveling abroad. In March, the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant against him for alleged war crimes for his involvement in the “illegal deportation of Ukrainian children”; The president has few places left to go without running the risk of being arrested. On his first trip outside Russia since then, Putin visited Kyrgyzstan last Thursday, a nation that does not recognize the aforementioned court, nor does China.

The trip will be a new contact between two leaders who call themselves “old friends” and who have taken relations between their States to the highest point in recent history, despite the war and, in part, driven by it. . Putin and Xi have already met more than 40 times, a few weeks before the Russian invasion of Ukraine they sealed a “limitless friendship” and in their last meeting in Moscow, in March, Xi said goodbye to his Russian counterpart with a confidence: “Changes are occurring that have not occurred in 100 years. When we are together, we pilot those changes.” To which Putin replied: “I agree.”

While the G-7 countries and their allies have declared sanctions against Moscow and severed their economic ties, the war in Ukraine has given a new boost to trade with Beijing: in 2022 it increased by 34.3% to reach $190 billion. (about 180,230 million euros). The West is suspicious of the calculated equidistance towards Russia that China maintains in the Ukraine war: Beijing has at no time condemned the invasion, although it has proposed itself as a mediator with a document with 12 points to find a “political solution” to the “crisis.” ” and a special envoy appointed directly by Xi to probe a possible rapprochement. Their dialogue, to date, has not yielded any results.

The Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, passed through Beijing on Monday as an advance party. During a meeting with his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, they discussed the two major points of friction on the geopolitical scene: Ukraine and the war between Israel and Gaza. On this last point, Wang has reiterated China's condemnation of all actions that harm civilians and violate international law, and has called for the United Nations Security Council to take action.

“Great powers must play an active role” to achieve a ceasefire, establish emergency humanitarian aid channels and avoid major humanitarian disasters, Wang said, according to the official reading collected by the Chinese agency Xinhua. He has also insisted, as Beijing has repeated in recent days, that the two-state solution must be “activated as soon as possible,” and a roadmap established for the “restoration of the legitimate rights of the Palestinian nation.” .

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Both “made reference to the Ukraine crisis, including efforts to resolve it through diplomatic means,” says the official Russian statement, according to the TASS agency, and “highlighted the importance of promoting close coordination between Russia and China on the international scene.” ”, which includes a good number of forums: from the UN Security Council to the BRICS through the G-20. Both sides “were happy to note that their positions fully coincided or were very aligned on all the issues discussed,” according to the Russian statement.

The meeting with Xi will be partially overshadowed by the splendor of the third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation - the official name of the event - in which delegations from more than 140 countries participate and which will keep the country's capital practically blocked during the week. China gives maximum importance to the summit: the New Silk Road is one of the star initiatives launched in the last decade by the Chinese president, with which it aspires to increase the presence of the Asian power on the globe. The event will feature heads of state and government from numerous countries, with good representation from Africa and Latin America, but the presence of practically no relevant leaders from Western nations is expected. The highest level leader of the European Union will be the Hungarian Víktor Orbán.

Eurasian Economic Union

One of Moscow's objectives will be to "harmonize" the Chinese initiative with the Eurasian Economic Union, an integration project sponsored by Moscow with other former Soviet republics. In addition to the interview with Xi on Wednesday, the Russian leader plans several bilateral meetings with the leaders of the states participating in the forum, according to a Kremlin statement.

In an interview given to China Media Group before the trip, Putin highlighted the “fundamental” importance of relations between both countries “to guarantee stability in the world,” according to the official Kremlin transcript. There is no reference to the war that broke out ten days ago in the Middle East. But it does contain an extensive reflection on the situation in Ukraine and China's role as a mediator.

“We are grateful to our Chinese friends for trying to think of ways to end this crisis,” says Putin, who then blames Kiev for the failure to move towards a ceasefire and Western countries and NATO expansionism for having provoked the conflict, as it has usually done. Beijing's proposals "are absolutely realistic" and "could lay the foundations for peace agreements," concedes the Russian leader. “But, unfortunately, the opposing party does not want to enter into any negotiations.”

In the interview, Putin makes a plea in favor of the “multipolar world” against the “vestiges of colonial thought” that represents, according to his vision, the international order led by the United States. “This is exactly what we are fighting for, and this is the basis of our interaction with China on the international stage,” he concludes.

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