Live updates on the Russian-Ukrainian crisis: Putin and Xi promise “no limits” to Russian-Chinese ties

Russian President Vladimir V. Putin met with Chinese leader Xi Jinping in Beijing on Friday. Credit… Alexei Druzhinin/Sputnik, via Age...


Credit…Alexei Druzhinin/Sputnik, via Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Chinese state media covered Friday’s meeting between top Russian and Chinese leaders in painstaking, sometimes flattering detail, as a sign of what they described as the unshakable unity between the countries.

Prior to the arrival of Russian President Vladimir V. Putin, Chinese media were covered with reports of a written interview Mr. Putin had given the previous day to state media. The interview highlighted not only Putin’s statements on economic and political cooperation between Russia and China, but also his advice to ice hockey fans.

When Mr Putin arrived in Beijing, China Central Television, the state broadcaster, documented every move, from his plane landing to his motorcade heading to Diaoyutai State Guesthouse, where Chinese leader Xi Jinping was waiting for greet him.

“Beijing time, February 4, 3:10 p.m., Putin’s motorcade arrived,” a CCTV presenter said. “The meeting between the Chinese and Russian leaders is about to officially begin.”

Another public broadcaster was standing on the tarmac when the plane landed, holding a stuffed polar bear and a stuffed panda. “I specially brought two little friends to wait for the plane with me,” she said, explaining that they were the mascots of the Sochi Olympics in 2014, in Russia, and the Beijing Olympics in 2022.

“Today, these two friends who meet on this special day extend their formal friendship of ice and snow,” she added.

Another one video by CCTV, released on Friday evening, featured a montage of Mr. Putin and Mr. Xi over the years – clinking champagne glasses, riding in a speedboat, gazing at a panda – over a soundtrack of bloated orchestral music.

On Weibo, China’s Twitter-like social media platform, many users welcomed Putin and said they hoped for closer China-Russia ties, especially given tensions with states -United. A hashtag saying it was Mr Putin’s first trip abroad this year was trending on Friday and had been viewed 17 million times.

Still, Shi Yinhong, a professor of international relations at Renmin University in Beijing, cautioned against overstating the importance of the meeting. He said while the ties between the countries were deepening, they had still not reached a formal alliance. Neither country has pledged military support to the other in the event of a conflict in Ukraine or Taiwan, he added.

As a result, each leader would continue to make their own strategic calculations largely independent of the others, he said.

“China of course doesn’t want to see war in Ukraine, and it certainly doesn’t want to see tensions escalate during the Olympics,” Professor Shi said. But “in Putin’s calculations he thinks of Ukraine, NATO, America’s Eastern European allies, and America itself. China is at the back.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Live updates on the Russian-Ukrainian crisis: Putin and Xi promise “no limits” to Russian-Chinese ties
Live updates on the Russian-Ukrainian crisis: Putin and Xi promise “no limits” to Russian-Chinese ties
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