January 25, 2022


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Putin and Xi show ‘exemplary’ relationship, announce meeting at Olympics

Video conference between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin – AFP

The presidents of Russia and China on Wednesday (15) demonstrated their “model” relationship in a video conference and announced Vladimir Putin’s visit to the Beijing Winter Olympics, at a time of tension between the two countries and the West.

The cordial tone of the conversation, which appeared in part on Russian television, contrasted with Western criticism of Moscow, on suspicion of its willingness to invade Ukraine, and criticism of Beijing for its repression in Xinjiang and Hong Kong.

Putin praised the relationship between the two powers, based on “non-interference, respect for each other’s interests, and determination to turn the common border into a belt of eternal peace and good neighborliness.”

“I regard these relations as the true model of interstate cooperation in the twenty-first century,” the Russian president told his “dear friend” Xi Jinping.

The Chinese president highlighted the “vitality” of bilateral relations, and considered that the two countries had become representatives of “true pluralism and the defense of international equality and justice,” according to the Xinhua News Agency.

Yury Ushakov, a Kremlin diplomatic advisor, said the meeting was a conversation between “two colleagues and two friends.”

The video conference illustrates the rapprochement between the two heads of state, especially compared to the less cordial talks they both had recently with US President Joe Biden.

The Russian president also confirmed that the two will meet in person in Beijing in February for the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics (February 4-20).

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The two presidents have not met face to face since the beginning of the pandemic.

– Sports and politics –

Putin said that both Xi Jinping and Hu are against “any attempt to politicize sports and the Olympic movement.”

China has criticized the recent decision by the governments of the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and Australia not to send political representatives to Beijing 2022 in response to human rights abuses, particularly in the Muslim-majority region of Xinjiang (Northwest China).

Moscow claimed that the “diplomatic boycott” was an attempt to politicize the Games.

Russia also sees itself as the victim of a massive doping scandal that has plagued its sporting credibility for several years, although Moscow denies any involvement.

Russia was accused in 2015 of organizing a state doping system, its participation in major international competitions was suspended until 2022, and its “clean” athletes are allowed to compete as neutral participants in events.

Moreover, its political authorities, including Putin, cannot attend the competitions, unless invited by the head of the organizing state, as will happen in Beijing.

– Tensions with the West –

China and Russia’s relations with Western powers have gone through a crisis in recent years. In this way, they both want to design a unit to act as a counterweight.

The two countries cooperate in the United Nations Security Council, where they are permanent members, and have strong ties in the fields of economy, defense and energy.

Russia is currently under fire from the European Union and the United States for its military exercises on the border with Ukraine, raising fears of a possible invasion.

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The issue was one of the topics planned for Wednesday’s meeting between the European Union and the former Soviet republics, a forum that Moscow has been watching anxiously.

China is routinely criticized by Washington and its allies for its military pressure on Taiwan, its treatment of the Muslim Uighur minority, or the restriction of freedoms in the supposedly semi-autonomous city of Hong Kong.


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