Xi Jinping, China's leader, is to pay a state visit to Moscow early next week.
Here are the words from the transcript of the Russian-Chinese talks last December 30, published on the Kremlin website: "We are expecting you, dear Mr. President, dear friend, we are expecting you next spring with a state visit to Moscow," Vladimir Putin said to Xi Jinping during the videoconference. In general, this could be regarded as quite an ordinary event. Mutual contacts between the Russian and Chinese leaders take place regularly, usually two visits a year, excluding meetings on the margins of international summits. According to Chinese Ambassador to Russia Zhang Hanhui, there have been about 40 such reciprocal visits since 2013, when Xi Jinping became the head of the country.
But today is a special situation. First, this visit is the first foreign trip of the Chinese president since his reelection to his third term. In diplomatic practice, this is considered a signal: this direction of foreign policy is regarded as a priority. The fact that Xi's trip to Moscow will take place during the acute phase of the special military operation that Russia is conducting in Ukraine, essentially fighting for its interests against the collective West, adds a special character to the trip. The trip also has great significance against the background of the sharp deterioration of relations between China and the United States and the intensification of Western sanctions against Beijing.
In this regard, there is a widespread version that the Chinese leader will "promote" the proposed plan for the peaceful settlement of the conflict in Ukraine. It is written that this plan is allegedly not beneficial to Russia. Well, the Chinese peace proposals may become a topic of discussion during the upcoming Russian-Chinese talks. Chinese diplomacy has just been brilliantly demonstrated by the reconciliation of bitter enemies, Saudi Arabia and Iran. An agreement for the full restoration of diplomatic relations between these countries was signed in Riyadh under the mediation of the head of the CPC Central Committee's Foreign Affairs Commission, who moved to that post upon the completion of his tenure as China's foreign minister. "The deal brokered by China overturns Middle East diplomacy and challenges the United States," said the New York Times in its assessment of Chinese peacemaking efforts. So why shouldn't China mediate on Ukraine as well?
Another widespread version of the main theme of the talks says that in Moscow, Russia and China will establish an even closer alliance. It is often added: finally. All we can say about this is that certain circles not only in Russia but also in China are in favor of such an alliance, including a military one. However, the leadership of the two countries has repeatedly assured that a bloc policy is not our choice and that both countries do not consider it possible and necessary to bind their hands and feet. According to Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang, this is "not an exclusive bloc, but an honest partnership. "Relations between China and Russia are based on the principles of non-alignment and non-confrontation. We are not friends against anyone, we do not threaten anyone. And no one can break us up," the diplomat said.
And it seems quite reasonable. It is hard to imagine how the world would change if such an alliance were indeed established, and a dozen countries that are not under American protectorate would also join it. In addition, the current basic treaty between China and Russia already contains a provision on mutual support for the protection of state unity and territorial integrity.
There is also a point of view in Russia that China is not an ally and not a friend. It is said to be acting exclusively in its own interests. Although it is not clear why a sovereign country should compromise its interests, even if it is in favor of a friend, nevertheless Xi Jinping's trip to Moscow immediately after his reelection demonstrates this friendship.
Consequently, Russian and Chinese interests largely coincide. The confirmation of this thought is in the words of the President of Russia, who in December 2022 announced the Chinese leader's visit to Russia: "You and I share the same views on the causes, course and logic of the ongoing transformation of the global geopolitical landscape, in the face of unprecedented pressure and provocations from the West, we defend the principal positions and protect not only our interests, but also all those who stand for a truly democratic world order and the right of countries to freely determine their fate." According to the Russian leader, the visit will demonstrate "to the whole world the strength of the Russian-Chinese ties on key issues."
Didn't the President of China, after his re-election, first of all go to the United States or Europe, where, according to the logic of many commentators, are the main economic interests of China?
Chinese Ambassador to Russia Zhang Hanhui succinctly explains the philosophy of our relations: "We are more than allies, we stand back to back.
In this sense, it is useful to quote the popular Chinese (Xiangsu) newspaper South China Morning Post: "Xi Jinping's trip would be an important event in Chinese diplomacy with far-reaching consequences for his international position and ties with the United States and other major powers. Such a visit would underscore Beijing's strategic choice to stand with Moscow in its geostrategic rivalry with the West and send a message of defiance."
And the answer to the question of why China is doing this is contained in the words of the head of Chinese diplomacy Qin Gang: "The more lack of stability in the world, the more important it is to strengthen Russian-Chinese ties. According to him, the U.S. has "lost all common sense" in its approach to relations with China. "Washington's preached "competition" with China is nothing but an attempt to contain and suppress China, and its rhetoric of "non-conflict" suggests that China will silently tolerate attacks. But this is simply impossible!" - stressed the head of the Chinese foreign ministry.