Putin and Xi show common front against Biden

The Russian and Chinese presidents displayed their “model” relationship on Wednesday during a videoconference, in full tension with the West, Vladimir Poutin confirming his visit to the Beijing Winter Olympics.

The friendly tone of the conversation, partly broadcast by Russian television, contrasts with the rounds of Western criticism against Moscow, accused of preparing an invasion of Ukraine, and against Beijing, because of the Chinese repressions in Hong Kong and Xinjiang .

Dithyrambic, Vladimir Poutine hailed a bilateral relationship based on “non-interference”, “respect for the interests of each” and a “determination to transform the common border into a belt of eternal peace and good neighborliness”.

“I consider these relations as the true model of inter-state cooperation in the XXIe century ”, said the Russian president to his“ dear friend ”Xi Jinping.

Underlining the “vitality” of the Russian-Chinese relationship, the Chinese president considered that the two countries had become the representatives “of true multilateralism and the defense of international equity and justice”, according to the news agency new China state.

The diplomatic adviser of the Kremlin, Yuri Ushakov, noted at the end of the Poutine-Xi discussion that it was about an exchange between “two colleagues, two friends”.

Western “interference”

This proximity contrasts with the talks, less amiable, that the Russian and Chinese leaders have been able to have in recent weeks with the American President, Joe Biden.

Both Beijing and Moscow also disapproved of Biden’s organization last week of a virtual summit on democracy, seeing it as a hostile operation against them.

According to the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Xi accused the West of using “‘democracy’ and ‘human rights’ to blatantly interfere in the internal affairs of China and the United States. Russia ”.

The Kremlin chief confirmed Wednesday that the two men will meet “in person in Beijing”, on the occasion of the opening of the Winter Olympics which will take place from February 4 to 20, 2022.

The Chinese leader said he was “impatient”, the two allies have not seen one-on-one since the start of the pandemic.

The Russian president finally noted that he and Xi Jinping were opposed to “any attempt to politicize sport and the Olympic movement”.

China denounced the recent decision of the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and Australia not to send political representatives to the Olympics in response to human rights violations, especially in the majority Chinese region Muslim from Xinjiang.

Moscow considers this “diplomatic boycott” as an attempt to politicize the Olympics.

Russia also presents itself as a victim of a Russophobic policy of the West in the sports field. For her, the multiple doping scandals that undermine her credibility are instrumentalized by her rivals.

Accused since 2015 of having orchestrated an institutional doping system, Russia is suspended from major international competitions until 2022.

Russian “clean” athletes are however allowed to participate as neutral athletes and will be in Beijing. Russian officials, including Mr. Putin, are banned from attending international competitions except at the invitation of the head of state of the host country. This will be the case in Beijing.

Tensions with the West

Moscow and Beijing have seen their respective relations with the West deteriorate over the years and want to project the image of two counterbalancing nations. The two permanent members of the UN Security Council have strengthened their diplomatic, economic, military and energy ties.

China is regularly criticized by Washington and its allies over Taiwan, the treatment of the Uighur Muslim minority, and the restriction of freedoms in its semi-autonomous territory of Hong Kong.

Russia is blacklisted for its maneuvers on the Ukrainian border, causing some to fear an invasion of Ukraine.

Moscow retorts that it is threatened by NATO’s increased military presence in Eastern Europe and its support for Kiev.

The subject will be on the table of a summit Wednesday of the European Union with the former Soviet republics within the framework of the Eastern Partnership which Moscow takes a dim view.

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