The presidents of Russia and China showed off their “model” relationship on Wednesday at a videoconference, in full Western tension, with Vladimir Putin confirming his arrival at the Beijing Winter Olympics.
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The friendly tone of the conversation, which was partially broadcast on Russian television, contrasted with the salvos of Western criticism against Moscow, which was accused of preparing to invade Ukraine, and against Beijing, because of the crackdowns. in China to Hong Kong and Xinjiang.
Dithyrambic, Vladimir Putin praised a bilateral relationship based on “non-interference”, “respect for the interests of all” and a determination to transform the common border into a belt of lasting peace and good neighbor “.
“I consider these relations to be the true model of interstate cooperation in the 21st century,” the Russian president told his “dear friend” Xi Jinping.
Emphasizing the “enthusiasm” of Russia-Chinese relations, the Chinese president said the two countries had become representatives “of true multilateralism and the protection of international equity and justice”, according to the press agency. .
The Kremlin’s diplomatic adviser, Yuri Ouchakov, noted after the Putin-Xi talks that it was an exchange between “two colleagues, two friends”.
This approach is in stark contrast to less friendly talks held by Russian and Chinese leaders in recent weeks with US President Joe Biden.
Beijing, like Moscow, also disliked Mr. Biden’s organization last week at a virtual democracy summit, viewing it as a counter-operation to them.
According to China’s Foreign Ministry, Xi accused Westerners of using “‘ democracy ’and‘ human rights ’to openly interfere in the internal affairs of China and Russia”.
Olympics and politics
The Kremlin chief confirmed on Wednesday that the two men will meet “in person in Beijing”, on the occasion of the opening of the Winter Olympics (February 4-20).
The Chinese leader said he was “impatient”, the two allies having not met each other face to face since the pandemic began.
The Russian president finally noticed that he and Xi Jinping were opposed to “any attempt to politicize the game and the Olympic activity”.
China has criticized the recent decision by the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia not to send political representatives to the Olympics in response to human rights violations, particularly in the Xinjiang (northwest) region which is predominantly Muslims in China.
Moscow sees this “diplomatic boycott” as a test of Olympic politics.
Russia has also presented itself as a victim of a Russophobic policy by Westerners in the field of sports. For him, the many doping scandals that have undermined his credibility have been used by his opponents.
Accused since 2015 of orchestrating an institutional doping system, Russia has been suspended from major international competitions until 2022.
“Clean” Russian athletes are allowed to participate as neutral athletes and are in Beijing. Russian officials, including Mr Putin, have been banned from attending international competitions unless at the invitation of the host country’s head of state. That will happen in Beijing.
Tensions in the West
Moscow and Beijing have seen their respective relations with the West deteriorate over the years and want to portray the image of the two countries as balanced. The two permanent members of the UN Security Council have strengthened their diplomatic, economic, military and strong ties.
China has often been criticized by Washington and its allies over Taiwan, the treatment of the Uyghur Muslim minority, or the ban on freedoms in Hong Kong’s semi-autonomous territory.
He was blacklisted by Russia for its maneuvers on the Ukrainian border, which feared some of an invasion of Ukraine.
Moscow responded that it threatened to increase NATO’s military presence in Eastern Europe and its support for kyiv.
The topic was on the table at a summit on Wednesday of the European Union with the former Soviet republics within the framework of the Eastern Partnership which Moscow saw as having a negative outlook.