Putin and Xi cement strategic alliance amid rising tensions with US

Russian and Chinese leaders have reaffirmed their shared strategic interests and criticized what they see as the global dominance of the United States. During talks on Thursday, 16 May, the two sides agreed to expand political and economic cooperation.

Putin is currently on a two-day state visit to China. This marks his first overseas trip since his inauguration for a fifth term as Russia's president. At the outset of his visit, Putin emphasised the "unprecedentedly high level of strategic partnership" between the two major powers.

For his part, Xi Jinping warmly welcomed Putin, highlighting that "over the past three quarters of a century, China-Russia relations have been tempered by adversity, withstood the test of a changing international landscape, and today are a model of relations between major powers and neighbouring countries."

Both Putin and Xi accused the United States of increasingly aggressive behaviour, vowing to deepen cooperation in military and defence sectors. "The US is attempting to disrupt the strategic balance," the leaders stated in a joint declaration, pointing out that the US maintains a military presence in numerous regions worldwide, posing threats to China and Russia. Putin reiterated the importance of building a "multipolar world."

A few weeks ago, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, during a visit to China, tried to persuade Beijing to avoid deepening military cooperation with Russia. Against the backdrop of Russia's war against Ukraine, Blinken threatened China with expanded sanctions on Chinese companies collaborating with the Russian defence sector.

Accompanying Putin on his visit to China is a sizable delegation of high-ranking Russian officials, including Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, new Defence Minister Andrei Belousov, and Central Bank Governor Elvira Nabiullina. The Russian president is also joined by the heads of several major Russian companies, such as Rosneft chief Igor Sechin, Sberbank CEO German Gref, and businessman Oleg Deripaska.

  China, Russia, Putin, Xi Jinping