Xi’s visit to Russia conveys great significance, injects certainty and positive energy
Published: Mar 19, 2023 11:43 PM
China-Russia Photo: VCG

China-Russia Photo: VCG

Chinese President Xi Jinping's state visit to Moscow this week is expected to attract global attention as the visit - the first overseas visit of the Chinese top leader in 2023 following the two sessions - is described as a trip of friendship, cooperation and peace. The visit, embodying the traditional friendship and conveying great significance, will deepen the strategic mutual trust and cooperation between China and Russia, and bring more certainty and positive energy to a turbulent world. 

However, the US and its allies are viewing the upcoming visit through "tinted glasses" by distorting the nature of China-Russia relations, smearing China's possible role as a mediator in the Ukraine crisis and rejecting its calls for a ceasefire in the conflict. Some Chinese and Russian observers believe that the question is whether the US and the West want a mediator now or they just want the Ukraine crisis to prolong as long as possible, using Ukraine as a pawn to weaken Russia and control Europe while maintaining its hegemony in the world. 

At the invitation of Russian President Vladimir Putin, President Xi will pay a state visit to Russia from Monday to Wednesday. During the visit, Xi will have an in-depth exchange of views with Putin on bilateral relations and major international and regional issues of mutual interest, boost strategic coordination and practical cooperation between the two countries and inject new impetus into the growth of bilateral relations, according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry

The two leaders will also sign important bilateral documents including a declaration on ties entering a new era and another outlining plans to develop key areas of Russian-Chinese economic cooperation until 2030, some Russian media reported, citing the Kremlin's foreign policy adviser, Yury Ushakov. 

While the world is closely observing the trip, some US officials and Western media have been badmouthing China's role as a possible peacemaker in the Ukraine crisis, continuing to hype on claim of China's shipment of lethal weapons to Russia's forces in Ukraine and casting doubt over China's neutral stance on the crisis. 

Smear campaign 

John Kirby, spokesperson for the US National Security Council, told reporters ahead of Xi's planned trip to Russia, that "We don't support calls for a ceasefire right now." He said a proposal from China could include some type of ceasefire, which would merely be a way for Russia to regroup before launching a reprisal, CNN reported on Friday. 

Not only is the US worried about the deepening China-Russia relations, it also constantly smears China and rejects China's proposal for peace talks, which shows that Washington does not want peace as it only wants to continue using Ukraine as a tool of weakening Russia and using the Ukraine crisis to engage in bloc-led confrontation, Zhang Hong, an associate research fellow at the Institute of Russian, Eastern European & Central Asian Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Sunday. 

Although the US and some of its allies are skeptical about China's role and show "growing concerns" over the deepening China-Russia relations, some European countries such as France and Germany, which have been under the shadow of the crisis over the past year, are expecting China to play a bigger role in mediating the conflict, some experts said. 

Russia will certainly trust China in playing the role of a mediator. The problem is that Ukraine and the West will not. Therefore, China could hardly play a mediating role, Alexander Lukin, director of the Center for East Asian and SCO Studies at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, told the Global Times. 

At the early stage of the conflict Russian and Ukrainian delegations met each other directly. Now the sides don't talk to each other not because they are waiting for a mediator but because Ukraine refuses to start talks before Russia is defeated, Lukin noted. 

"So to bring Kiev to the table one would need not to mediate but to press it into the talks. Or the situation has to change in a way that Ukrainian leaders stop thinking that defeating Russia is feasible," he said, noting that by providing Kiev with more weapons, the US and its allies work in an opposite direction.

A multipolar world 

The China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for a new era is based on independent foreign policy, and the regular reciprocal visits of heads of states of Russia and China have been a tradition since mid-1990s said some Chinese and Russian experts. 

The Chinese envoy to Russia also viewed such close interactions and exchange of views between the heads of state of the two countries as "the compass and anchor" of the development of bilateral relations. 

"President Xi's state visit to Russia this time is a milestone for China-Russia relations in the new era. It will inject a strong impetus into bilateral relations and lead the sustained development of bilateral ties at a high level," Chinese Ambassador to Russia Zhang Hanhui told the Global Times in a recent interview. 

Ten years ago, Xi's first overseas visit after being elected as the President was to Russia and during that visit, he elaborated for the first time on building a community of shared future for mankind, Wang Yiwei, director of the Institute of International Affairs at the Renmin University of China, told the Global Times on Sunday. 

"Ten years later, Xi's first visit after being elected as president will be to Russia, which also fully underscored how much importance China attaches to China-Russia relations in the new era," Wang said, noting that the visit will convey milestone significance, setting an example for a new type of international relations. 

"As two permanent members of the UN Security Council, China and Russia are responsible for advancing the course of a multipolar world, rejecting unilateralism and hegemony," Wang said, noting that it's important to enhance strategic coordination with Russia and remain vigilant on Washington to reproduce the Ukraine crisis in Asia.