Vladimir Putin hails the record turnover of trade between Russia and China.

Vladimir Putin hails the record turnover of trade between Russia and China.

According to the Russian president, trade with China now exceeds 200 billion dollars a year.

As Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese leader Xi Jinping continue their meeting in China, the whole world is waiting to see what their self-proclaimed “limitless” partnership will mean for the future of Ukraine.

Xi and Putin have concluded a long-term agreement providing for annual visits to their respective countries; the Chinese president was received at the Kremlin last year.

The two heads of state are focusing on trade and cultural exchanges during this second day of Vladimir Putin’s visit to China.

The Russian leader used his public statements to emphasize the importance of cooperation between Russia and China in the joint development of new technologies.

“Based on the traditions of friendship and cooperation, we can look to the future with confidence,” he said at a China-Russia exhibition in Harbin, a city in the northeast of the country. “The Russia-China partnership contributes to the economic growth of our countries, ensures energy security, helps develop production, and creates new jobs,” he added.

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Although it is unlikely that Putin’s visit will result in concrete proposals or announcements, Xi and Putin are striving to show their strong relationship while the United States and other powers continue to sanction Russia over the war in Ukraine.

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Moscow has increasingly relied on China due to Western sanctions. Trade between the two countries reached 240 billion dollars last year, with China helping its neighbor mitigate the worst effects of Western sanctions.

This week, Putin thanked Xi for China’s proposals to end the war, while Xi stated that China hoped for a quick return of peace and stability in Europe and would continue to play a constructive role in this regard.

Last year, China proposed a broad peace plan that did not call for Russia to leave the occupied parts of Ukraine. This plan was rejected by Ukraine and the West.

While the notion of a peaceful resolution of the conflict was often mentioned during Thursday’s discussions, Russia has opened a new front in the war by launching attacks in its northeastern border area.

The war is at a critical point for Ukraine, which is trying to resupply its forces after experiencing delays in obtaining weapons from the United States.

European leaders have pressured China to ask Russia to end its invasion, but in vain. According to a U.S. intelligence report, China is likely to supply the Russian forces with equipment, including drones and spare parts for fighter jets.

Moscow and Beijing reaffirm their close ties as Russia continues its offensive in Ukraine.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese leader Xi Jinping reaffirmed their “limitless” partnership on Thursday, which has strengthened as both countries face increasing tensions with the West. Both criticized U.S. military alliances in Asia and the Pacific region.

At their summit in Beijing, Putin thanked Xi for China’s proposals to end the war in Ukraine.

These proposals were rejected by Ukraine and its Western allies, who considered them largely aligned with the Kremlin’s stance.

Putin’s two-day state visit to one of his main allies and trading partners comes as Russian forces launch an offensive in the Kharkiv region in northeastern Ukraine, in the most significant border incursion since the large-scale invasion began on February 24, 2022.

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Neutral position

China claims to adopt a neutral position in the conflict but has supported the Kremlin’s assertions that Russia was provoked by the West to attack Ukraine, and continues to supply key components that Moscow needs for weapons production.

China, which has not criticized the invasion, proposed a broadly formulated peace plan in 2023, calling for a ceasefire and direct talks between Moscow and Kyiv. This plan was rejected by Ukraine and the West because it did not call for Russia to leave the occupied parts of Ukraine.

The visit, largely symbolic and ceremonial, emphasized the partnership between two countries facing challenges in their relations with the United States and Europe.

“Both parties want to show that despite what is happening in the world and the pressure they are facing from the United States, they are not ready to turn their backs on each other,” said Hoo Tiang Boon, who studies Chinese foreign policy at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.

While Putin and Xi declared they sought to end the war, they did not make new proposals in their public statements.

“China hopes that Europe will quickly regain peace and stability and will continue to play a constructive role in this regard,” Xi said in a prepared speech for the media at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.

His comments echoed what China stated when it offered a broad peace plan.

Earlier in the day, Putin was welcomed in Tiananmen Square with great military pomp, including cannon fire.

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