Vladimir Putin arrives in China to shore up close ties with Xi Jinping


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Vladimir Putin has arrived in Beijing on a state visit aimed at underscoring his close relationship with China’s President Xi Jinping and shoring up support for Russia’s wartime economy.

Footage from China’s state broadcaster CCTV showed Putin’s aircraft arriving before dawn on Thursday. The Russian president was greeted by an honour guard before his entourage was escorted into black limousines, accompanied by scores of police on motorcycle.

The visit comes as Russia’s economy has become increasingly dependent on China in the face of escalated sanctions from the west for its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022.

After a huge increase in trade between China and Russia following the outbreak of war, there are signs that Beijing has pulled back slightly. China’s exports to its neighbour fell in March and April as the US threatened to target Chinese banks that it alleged were assisting in circumventing sanctions.

Analysts expect Putin to discuss how to work around these sanctions during his visit to Beijing, which will include his 43rd meeting with Xi.

China has refused to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and argues that its independent relationship with Moscow is its own affair. The US has accused Beijing of supporting Putin’s war machine by providing dual use-goods.

China’s ties with the US are also under increasing strain following President Joe Biden’s announcement this week of steep tariffs on Chinese electric vehicles, solar cells, semiconductors and other tech products.

Ahead of the two-day visit, Putin sought to portray Russia and China as united in their goal of creating a new “multipolar world” and held out the prospect of negotiations with Ukraine, which he said would depend on security guarantees.

China’s leaders have said little officially about the visit. Analysts said Beijing was focused on trying to stabilise its important trade markets in the EU and the US and prevent further tariff increases.

As the world’s largest exporter, China’s economy is heavily dependent on its ability to sell into developed markets, despite the strides it mas made in diversifying in recent years into emerging markets.

Trade with China is shaping up to be a core issue in the US ahead of the presidential election. Biden’s announcement on Tuesday that he would impose tariffs on $18bn of Chinese goods was his most significant action on trade with China as president.



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