Russian President Vladimir Putin is meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing on Wednesday to demonstrate strengthened relations between the two countries, The New York Times reported.

The meeting comes amid heightened global tensions with Israel’s counteroffensive in the Gaza Strip, and both Xi and Putin called for a cease-fire and a two-state solution while refusing to directly condemn Hamas’ terrorist attacks. Xi and Putin are expected to discuss their “no limits” relationship intended to rival the U.S. and its Western allies, according to NYT.

“Chairman Xi Jinping calls me his friend, and I call him my friend,” Putin said to Chinese state media ahead of his Beijing visit.

Putin will attend a Tuesday conference on Xi’s China’s Belt and Road initiative, a global infrastructure project aimed at expanding China’s influence and bolstering the country’s economy in over 150 countries, according to NYT. Putin’s trip to Beijing is only the second time he has left Russia since a warrant for his arrest was issued by the International Criminal Court for suspicions of war crimes.

Putin will likely seek increased support for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which has entered a quasi-state of limbo as Kyiv continues to hold the line with its counter-offensive, the NYT reported. Trade between Russia and China has soared in 2023; over a third of Russian oil is exported to China, providing the country with further war funding, as Western sanctions have throttled Russia’s economy.

The meeting also comes as U.S. relations with China continue to plummet. A number of diplomatic visits by Biden administration officials have had little effect on easing economic and militaristic tensions with China, and President Joe Biden is angling to meet with Xi later this year in a last-ditch effort to salvage relations.

At the same time, the relationship between China and Russia has only grown stronger, Yun Sun, director of the China program at the Stimson Center, told NYT.

“The bromance is going strong, and in essence remains unaffected by the thaw in U.S.-China relations,” Sun told NYT. “China clearly doesn’t believe in the sustainability of such a thaw, so Russia remains a key partner [to counter the U.S.].”

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Jake Smith on October 17, 2023

Daily Caller News Foundation

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