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Xi Jinping visits Putin in spring, here's what's behind the news that is cheering Russia and China's cold response, a turning point in relations between Moscow and Beijing
Written by Elmas Bogdani 1 Shkurt 2023
A turning point in the relations between Moscow and Beijing, which for months have been experiencing an alternation between approaches and distances, especially on the Chinese side due to the war in Ukraine and its international consequences. Chinese President Xi Jinping will soon fly to Vladimir Putin. "The Chinese leader is actually expected to travel to Russia in the spring," announced the Russian Foreign Ministry, which declared that it will be a "central event in relations between Russia and China in 2023." The news was announced by the Russian news agency Tass. "In the coming year, through joint efforts, Russia and China will be able to further strengthen and advance bilateral ties. As you know, Russian President Vladimir Putin has invited Chinese leader Xi Jinping to pay a state visit to the Russian Federation in spring. We believe that this will become a central event in bilateral relations in 2023," said the Russian Foreign Ministry in response to media questions received during the press conference on the results of Russian diplomatic activities in 2022. It has not come from Beijing still confirmation that Xi Jinping has accepted the invitation and that the trip will take place within the year. A spokeswoman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Mao Ning, answered a question on the matter as follows: "China and Russia maintain close contacts at various levels to promote the development of the two countries, contributing to global peaceful development. Related with this visit in particular, at the moment I have no information to share". However, The South China Morning Post writes that the president's trip to Russia is expected around the anniversary of the invasion of Ukraine. Putin invited Xi during a year-end video call between the two in December.
A strategic meeting
Why does Beijing continue to maintain relations with Moscow, without the reservations and suspicions that have begun to appear under the shadow of the Forbidden City? To answer in one word: necessity. Not so much - or at least not only, geopolitics, but the need for energy. In fact, in the near future, Chinese citizens living in more remote areas of the country must face freezing winter conditions due to an "artificial shortage" of natural gas. As the South China Morning Post has pointed out, gas cuts and shopping restrictions in northern China have left many residents without heat in prohibitive conditions. While local government authorities have failed to place sufficient orders from gas suppliers to meet demand, the most logical solution for the Chinese leader is to increase imports of the precious resource from Russia, with the Kremlin happy to provide such assistance. According to data from Spanish financial services company BBVA, China's total natural gas supply reached 301.8 billion cubic meters, between production and imports, between January and October last year. In the same period, however, demand reached 299.9 billion cubic meters.
Lëvizjet e Xi
Ajo që është e sigurt është se lajmi i Xi-Putin erdhi ballë për ballë pikërisht në kohën kur Sekretari i Shtetit i SHBA, Antony Blinken, po përgatitej të takohej me homologët e tij kinezë në Pekin. Kujtojmë gjithashtu se Kina ka qenë partneri më i madh tregtar i Rusisë për më shumë se një dekadë dhe sanksionet perëndimore kundër Moskës kanë parë që vëllimi i tyre tregtar të rritet në qiell. Me afrimin e përvjetorit të luftës në Ukrainë më 24 shkurt, Rusia është furnizuesi më i madh i naftës në Kinë, furnizuesi i dytë më i madh i tubacioneve dhe furnizuesi i katërt më i madh i gazit natyror të lëngshëm. Ndërkohë Xi vazhdon të luajë në më shumë tavolina. Nga njëra anë, udhëheqësi kinez është i kujdesshëm që të mos largohet shumë nga Putini, i vetëdijshëm se Moska përfaqëson një sigurim të rëndësishëm energjie për të ardhmen e afërt të Pekinit. Nga ana tjetër, Kina nuk ia mbyll derën Uashingtonit dhe vazhdon të shtrijë dorën drejt Evropës dhe vendeve në zhvillim.