Xi-Putin meeting expected to draw up 2022 plan for bilateral ties, break rumors sowing discord
Published: Dec 13, 2021 10:46 PM
China Russia VCG

China Russia VCG

Chinese President Xi Jinping will have a virtual meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday, during which the two leaders will review bilateral relations and cooperation achievements over the year, draw up top-level design for the development of bilateral ties for next year and exchange views on major international and regional issues of common concern, the Chinese Foreign Ministry announced on Monday.

Analysts and officials believe that the meeting is significant and timely as it will not only solidify the mutual political trust of the two countries, chart the course for already close communication and cooperation in politics, economy, military and people-to-people exchanges for next year amid reckless US crackdowns and smears. 

It is also seen as a response to doubts in the West over China-Russia relations as the US seeks to align its allies to confront both and even attempt to drive a wedge to split their ties following Putin’s recent talks with US President Joe Biden, analysts said.

Speaking at Monday’s press conference, Wang Wenbin, a spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Ministry said the meeting between the top leaders of China and Russia is expected to further enhance high-level mutual trust, vigorously promote close strategic coordination and the robust development of all-round practical cooperation between China and Russia, and inject more stability and positive energy into the turbulent and intertwined international situation.  

After Russia held leadership meetings with the US and India and is likely to have another with the US, the meeting with China will break rumors aimed at sowing discord between the two countries, said Yang Jin, an associate research fellow at the Eastern European and Central Asian Studies Center of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. 

CNN on Sunday reported that Putin told US President Joe Biden he would "really like" to meet for more talks, citing a video clip released by Russian state TV on Sunday from the leaders' virtual call last week.

Putin and Biden spoke in a video call on December 7 as tensions between the US and Russia escalate. Ukraine tensions were one of the focuses during the call. 

Given that Russia is in a critical period of making power arrangements as Putin's presidency is scheduled to expire in 2024, a stable internal and external environment is of urgent need, Cui Heng, a post-doctorate researcher from the Center for Russian Studies of East China Normal University, told the Global Times on Monday. 

China and Russia can support each other in sticking to their own paths of development, serve as the backbone for each other's political legitimacy, and jointly oppose the West's incitement of “color revolutions” and stigmatization against the two countries, Cui said. 

It is also hoped that the situation in Ukraine remains peaceful and stable, and disputes and conflicts should be resolved within the framework of dialogue and consultations, Yang said.  

During the upcoming Xi-Putin meeting, the two will not only discuss the anti-pandemic and energy cooperation, but also Russia’s support for China’s hosting of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games, more cooperation in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization under the Belt and Road Initiative, and Central Asia issues, Yang predicted. 

The meeting could also cover the situation in Afghanistan and other regional issues, he said.

The meeting is of great significance for global stability, economic recovery and reconstruction in the post-pandemic era and the further consolidation of the strategic partnership between the two countries, Yang told the Global Times on Monday.

In recent years, Beijing and Moscow have stepped up cooperation on many fronts, be they military, trade or people-to-people exchanges. The frequent interactions between the top leaders of the two countries also help cement bilateral ties and lend stability and positive energy to the international situation. 

The two sent congratulatory letters to the closing ceremony of the China-Russia Year of Scientific and Technological Innovation in late November. Putin has "gladly accepted China’s invitation" to attend the opening ceremony of the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games in February and the two countries are in close communication on Putin's trip. 

The two top leaders also talked over phone in August, during which they stressed strengthening coordination on Afghanistan, which analysts said showed that the two major powers are acting as responsible countries in helping address the chaos in Afghanistan and maintain the international order.  

They also jointly announced the extension of the China-Russia Treaty of Good-Neighborliness and Friendly Cooperation in June via video link, three days ahead of the centennial of the Communist Party of China (CPC), while Putin congratulated Xi on the CPC's centenary and expressed hopes for enhanced China-Russia inter-party exchanges.

Citing the recent democracy summit initiated by the US, Cui said it exposed Biden’s wishful thinking to build a camp with the Cold War mentality against China, Russia and other countries by ideological divisions. Only by joining hands can China and Russia counter the attack from the US-led clique and avoid falling into passivity, Cui stressed.

As the epidemic has been at its peak since mid-September in Russia, cooperation in the fight against the COVID-19 outbreaks is imperative, Cui said, noting that helping Russia can also consolidate China’s achievements in preventing and controlling imported infections, Cui said.  
During the reconstruction of the value chain, the two countries should further deepen industrial cooperation, Cui said. In addition to large-scale trade, there is still broad space for bilateral cooperation in the formation of industrial chains in agriculture, biomedicine, machinery, shipbuilding, and other fields, Cui said.