Xi Jinping doubles down on his Putin bet. ‘I have a similar personality to yours’

By | December 15, 2022

The Wall Street Journal reports:

China’s leader Xi Jinping has in recent months tried to put public distance between Beijing and Moscow as Russia has suffered defeats in its war on Ukraine.

Behind the diplomatic appearances, however, Mr. Xi is deepening his long-term bet on Russia.

In recent weeks, he has instructed his government to forge stronger economic ties with Russia, according to policy advisers to Beijing, building on a trade relationship that has strengthened this year and become a lifeline to Moscow in the face of Western pressure.

The plan includes increasing Chinese imports of Russian oil, gas and farm goods, more joint energy partnerships in the Arctic and increased Chinese investment in Russian infrastructure, such as railways and ports, the advisers say.

Russia and China are also conducting more financial transactions in the ruble and yuan, rather than the euro or dollar, a move that helps insulate the two against future sanctions and put the Chinese currency into wider circulation.

The tightening ties are the latest twist in the bilateral relationship, which intensified just before the Russian invasion, when a joint declaration asserted there were “no limits” to the partnership. After appearing to have second thoughts about aligning itself so closely with Moscow, China has since moved to cement their cooperation.

“Xi has been strengthening China’s relations with Russia largely independent of the Russian invasion,” said Yun Sun, director of the China program at the Stimson Center, a Washington think tank. “The relationship may well be becoming ever closer.” [Continue reading…]

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