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China, Russia recommit to strengthen ties as White House announces first Putin-Biden summit
China and Russia reiterated their commitment to strengthen their relationship as the White House announced the first summit between Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin next month. The June 16 meeting is widely seen as an olive branch from the US president to his Russian counterpart, and some observers have said it could be another attempt by Washington to drive a wedge between Moscow and Beijing. In a telephone conversation Tuesday with President Xi Jinping’s main diplomatic assistant, Yang Jiechi, Putin said relations between the two countries were “the best in history” and said it was essential that the two leaders maintain close contacts, according to the official Chinese news agency. Xinhua Do you have questions on the biggest topics and trends from around the world? Get the answers with SCMP Knowledge, our new curated content platform with explanations, FAQs, analysis and infographics brought to you by our award-winning team. Putin made similar comments a week ago when he and Xi launched a project to build four new nuclear reactors in China using Russian technology via video link. At the same event, Xi also praised his “comprehensive strategic coordination partnership.” Xinhua said Putin also pledged to work with China to preserve global strategic stability and defend multilateralism – a possible veiled reference to Washington’s willingness to use its relations with its allies to target authoritarian governments. We will share spaceflight components with China: Russian space agency Yang, who was visiting Moscow for strategic and security talks, again declared China’s commitment to strengthen relations in the call with Putin, who addressed “several pressing global issues” according to the TASS news agency. “China is ready to work with Russia to comprehensively implement the consensus reached by the two presidents and transform high-level mutual political trust into more results of strategic coordination,” Yang said, according to Xinhua. During his visit, Yang also co-chaired the annual bilateral strategic security consultations, a dialogue mechanism established in 2005, with Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev on Tuesday. Analysts noted that Beijing and Moscow are moving closer in the face of growing pressure from the West. Zhu Feng, professor of international relations at Nanjing University, said the Geneva summit showed Washington was trying to ease tensions with Moscow. “The Biden administration has softened its stance and tried to stabilize relations with Russia since it imposed sanctions on Moscow in April. It has become evident that Washington will focus more on China, ”he said. The top Chinese diplomat is traveling to Russia on the security talks mission that Beijing suspects the previous US administration also wanted to drive a wedge between China and Russia, with Donald Trump making repeated efforts to readmit Moscow to the Group of 7. Vladimir Portyakov, deputy director of the Institute of Far Eastern Affairs of the Russian Academy of Sciences also described the Biden-Putin summit as an attempt to “slow down the Russian-Chinese rapprochement and, if successful , to move Russia and China away from each other ”. “I hope that Moscow understands this and will not play ‘at an equal distance’ between Washington and Beijing. I would also like to believe that Beijing will stop seeing relations with the United States as a “top priority” and gradually reduce its importance in China’s foreign policy, “he said. But Zhu said, “Beijing and Moscow have a growing interest in working together to take on the United States and other Western countries. Strengthening their coordination is their best bet, and probably the only option to some extent. In a Wednesday editorial, the Global Times tabloid, controlled by Communist Party spokesperson People’s Daily, also attributed the close Sino-Russian ties to “the suppression of the two countries by the United States and its main allies ”. Artyom Lukin, associate professor at Russia’s Far Eastern Federal University, also said China and Russia need each other. While Moscow has increasingly relied on Beijing economically after the Covid-19 crisis, Beijing relies on Russia for the military-strategic domain and in particular for top military technology. range. “In addition, Russia’s position may be crucial in the event of an increasingly likely military conflict between China and the United States. Strong relations with Moscow would guarantee, at a minimum, China’s northern and central Asian borders – and it cannot even be ruled out that Russia provides direct assistance to Beijing in a Sino-American war, ”he said. he declared. Lukin said the Geneva summit was likely to bring about a short-term normalization of US-Russian relations, but deep tensions and disagreements made a full rapprochement unlikely. Putin threatens to “cut the teeth” of opponents of Russia “I don’t think Washington will seriously try to drive a wedge between China and Russia. The folks in the Biden administration are smart enough to understand that this won’t work. “Even if they tried to do so, such a policy would almost certainly fail because political relations between Russia and China are quite strong and will remain so for the foreseeable future,” he said. But Zhu said Moscow and Beijing are unlikely to form a full alliance. “China’s top diplomatic priority is to prevent further disengagement with the United States and the West. I doubt that a strategic alliance will be in Beijing’s interest or help achieve this goal, ”he said. Xi and Putin to mark expansion of Sino-Russian nuclear power plant project ahead of US talks Biden in the South China Morning Post latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2021.