Global Insights: China-Russia Partnership Heats Up

Global Insights: China-Russia Partnership Heats Up

This weekend’s visit by Xi Jinping to Moscow, his first trip abroad as China’s new president, resulted in no revolutionary agreements. The biggest “deliverable” to emerge from the summit -- the major oil deal the two sides signed -- was overshadowed by their continued failure to agree on a price for Chinese purchases of Russian natural gas. Yet expectations were low for the summit, so the lack of headline agreements came as little surprise. More surprising, however, was the extent to which Xi aligned Beijing’s foreign policy views with those of Russia in his public statements while in Moscow -- a warning to Washington that should not be overlooked.

In a speech at Russia’s leading international relations school, Xi told the Russian foreign policy elite, "We must respect the right of each country in the world to independently choose its path of development and oppose interference in the internal affairs of other countries." Xi added that, "Strong Chinese-Russian relations . . . not only answer to our interests but also serve as an important, reliable guarantee of an international strategic balance and peace."

Although Xi did not mention Washington by name, his implicit criticism of U.S. foreign policy was not only surprising, it also bore a striking resemblance to what Russian President Vladimir Putin and other Russian leaders have said in the past about Washington’s proclivity to interfere in Russia’s internal affairs and to use force without the approval of the U.N. Security Council, where Moscow and Beijing both enjoy the right to veto council resolutions.

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