Xi Jinping’s ‘tough’ moment with Putin on Ukraine, as China reassesses’ its relations with Russia

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During a meeting in Beijing in early February ahead of the Winter Olympics, Xi reaffirmed his support for Putin and Russia. The presidents of the two superpowers proclaimed that the relationships between their respective countries had “no bounds.” “There are no ‘forbidden’ sectors of collaboration,” their astonishing 5,000-word joint declaration added. Russia was stockpiling weaponry and more than 100,000 troops along the border with Ukraine at the time.

After months of claims by the Kremlin that an attack was impending, Russia invaded its former Soviet neighbour on February 24.

Following Moscow’s military action, China voted against condemning Russia in the UN Security Council and General Assembly.

However, with the violence in Ukraine continuing, political expert Peter Frankopan, professor of world history at the University of Oxford, believes that Xi is now in a “difficult” phase in his relationship with Putin.

When asked about the relationship between the two presidents, the researcher noted that Xi would find it difficult to turn a blind eye to Putin’s cruel assault on Ukraine, which has resulted in the deaths of over 1,000 civilians.

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He told Express.co.uk: “It is very difficult to try and sit on the fence. You are taking the side of a guy who has blown up maternity hospitals.

“This is what the Russians did. It is quite challenging.

“And there has been a lot of talk in China about a reappraisal, particularly in the last 10 days or so.”

“To begin with, the Chinese were all highly supportive of Russia and felt it was all the fault of the West.”

“Now, I believe that is beginning to shift a little bit.” Russia is collapsing.”

Prof Frankopan highlighted to the bombardment of a children’s and maternity facility in the besieged Ukrainian city of Mariupol, which he described as one of the most horrifying instances of the conflict thus far.

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A pregnant mother and her infant were killed in the incident earlier this month, which was carried out by a Russian airstrike on the medical facility.

Sergei Orlov, deputy mayor of Mariupol, called the bombardment “pure genocide” and a “war crime.”

During a phone discussion with US President Joe Biden the next week, Xi warned against violent wars.

The Chinese leader avoided openly criticising Russia, but stated that “state-to-state relations cannot devolve into armed confrontations.”

“Peace and security are the most valuable jewels of the world community,” he said in remarks aired by China’s public broadcaster CCTV.

Prof Frankopan argued in his assessment of Sino-Russian ties that China may be disturbed by Russia’s newest attempt to circumvent sanctions imposed over the Ukraine conflict, which are meant to harm its economy.

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In a potentially damaging blow to Chinese trade, Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin declared that Russia will allow merchants to import items from other countries without the approval of copyright holders.

“This afternoon, the Russians stated that they will have no copyrights on pictures or music,” Prof Frankopan added.

“They’re going to get out of all the international treaties we have in order to make it a free-for-all.”

“That is not good for the world community.” It’s bad news for nations like China, who have spent a lot of money on technology and patent protection.

“It’s a little complex, but I believe Russia’s trajectory will drag others down with it.”

“And that is a source of concern for China as well.”

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