At approximately 0355 EST, President Putin of the Russian Federation and President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China began bi-lateral talks over video teleconference (VTC). Here is a rundown of the conversation:
- President Putin invited President Xi Jinping to Moscow in 2023. Russian Presidential Spokesperson Peskov told press after the call that no date has been set for his visit, but it will most likely be this Spring.
- Putin announced that trade between Russian and China will grow by about 25% by the end of 2022 and that his stated goal of 200B USD trade volume between the two countries would be reached ahead of schedule.
- Putin praised Russia-China cooperation that “demonstrates stability and sets example in context of growing global tensions”. He also said that Russia-China relations are better than ever before in history.
- President Xi Jinping said that Russia and China are in “close strategic contact”, agreeing to President Putin’s comments.
- President Putin went on to say that China and Russia share similar viewpoints on the ongoing global transformation and bilateral cooperation will help shape “new and fair world order based on international law”, an apparent dig at the hegemony that the United States has maintained since the end of the Second World War. In fact, President Xi Jinping directly said that China is willing to work with Russia and any forces that oppose hegemonism, power politics, and bullying.
- Most interestingly, President Xi Jinping said that he is willing to defend the sovereignty and security of both Russia and China.
- President Putin went on to say Russia and China will continue to develop energy sector cooperation, going as far as to say that Russia has now become the primary gas supplier for China.
- President Putin also commented that trade of agricultural products increase 36% to 6B USD over the last eleven months, about as long as Russia has been waging an unjust war in Ukraine.
- President Xi Jinping also commented that China will continue to encourage membership in BRICS and that Russia and China are committed to protecting emerging economies.
- Finally, President Xi Jinping commented on the war in Ukraine. He said that China will continue to uphold objective and fair stance and play constructive role in peacefully resolving the Ukraine crisis during talks with President Putin.
All-in-all the call this morning demonstrates that Russia and China will continue to pursue deeper economic, political, and military ties as both countries seek to break out of their regional power bases. The war in Ukraine, largely condemned by the international community has divided the world along clear lines, raising tensions between NATO, EU partners and Russia and China. The cessation of economic and diplomatic ties with several European nations with Russia, as well as strained ties with China allude to further polarization as Russia is forced closer to China amid sanctions over the invasion of Ukraine.
As military cooperation between Russian Eastern OSK forces and Chinese forces in the Pacific continue to increase, incidents like harassment of U.S. intelligence aircraft and FONOPS will escalate, possibly with Russian aircraft and ships as well.