Xi will travel to Russia for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began
Just one month before he is set to cement his place as the most powerful Chinese leader since Mao Zedong, Xi Jinping will leave China for the first time in more than two years to go on a trip this week to Central Asia where he will meet Vladimir Putin of Russia. This will be Xi Jinping’s first trip outside of China in more than two years.
The fact that this was Xi’s first travel outside of China since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak demonstrates not only how certain he is about his hold on power in China but also how precarious the situation on a global scale has become.
On September 14, Xi is scheduled to make a state visit to Kazakhstan, which will take place against the backdrop of Russia’s conflict with the West over Ukraine, the issue over Taiwan, and a stuttering global economy.
After that, Putin is scheduled to meet with the president of China at the summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which will take place in Samarkand, an old city located along the Silk Road, in Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and the Kremlin said.
Yuri Ushakov, an adviser to Vladimir Putin on foreign affairs, mentioned to reporters the week before last that it was anticipated that Putin and Xi will meet during the summit. The Kremlin has refused to comment on the specifics of their conversations. China has not yet confirmed whether or not Xi will travel.
Both leaders will have the opportunity to show their opposition to the United States at a time when the West is seeking to punish Russia for the war in Ukraine. The meeting will provide an opportunity for Xi to emphasize his clout, while Putin will have the opportunity to demonstrate Russia’s tilt towards Asia.
According to George Magnus, author of the book Red Flags, which is about Xi’s challenges, “It is all about Xi in my view: he wants to show just how confident he is domestically and to be seen as the international leader of nations opposed to Western hegemony.”
Because China still need an anti-western leadership in Moscow, “Privately I expect Xi will be most nervous about how Putin’s war is going and indeed if Putin or Russia are in play at some point at some point in the near future.”
The previous week was Russia’s worst setback of the war, as the country was forced to give up its primary bastion in the northeastern region of Ukraine.
One of the most intriguing geopolitical trends of recent years is the deepening of a “no boundaries” cooperation between the growing powerhouse of China and the natural resources giant of Russia. This is one of the developments that the West is watching with alarm as it continues to deepen.
Russia, which was once the senior partner in the global Communist hierarchy, is now considered to be a junior partner of a resurgent Communist China, which is forecast to overtake the United States as the world’s largest economy in the next decade. This is because the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, and Russia has been on its own ever since.
In spite of the fact that the cooperation is riddled with historical inconsistencies, there is no indication that Xi is prepared to withdraw his backing for Putin in Russia’s most significant conflict with the West since the height of the Cold War.