In Talks With Putin, Xi Hails ‘Powerful Driving Force’ of Cooperation

With his army making advances in Ukraine and his political grip tightened at home after securing an unprecedented fifth term as president, Vladimir V. Putin of Russia arrived in Beijing on Thursday in search of another win: more support from his “dear friend,” Xi Jinping.

Mr. Putin, whose economy remains largely isolated because of Western sanctions over his invasion of Ukraine, relies on Mr. Xi, China’s leader, for diplomatic cover and a financial lifeline, including huge purchases of Russian oil. But Mr. Putin will need more help to sustain his war machine, especially now as his military makes a push near Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, before billions of dollars’ worth of arms arrives from the United States to shore up Ukraine’s depleted forces.

In Beijing, Mr. Putin sought to show that Moscow was deepening its ties with Beijing as a bulwark against Western attempts to contain their countries. “We are working in solidarity on the formulation of a more just and democratic multipolar world order,” he said.

He trumpeted China’s role as Russia’s number one trade partner, highlighted the use of the Russian ruble and the Chinese renminbi currency in the countries’ transactions, and said the sides would strengthen contacts between credit institutions and banks. He also said the leaders discussed working more closely in energy and nuclear power research, though made no mention of a proposed natural gas pipeline to China that Moscow would like to see built.

Mr. Xi is committed to his partnership with Mr. Putin, regarding Russia as a critical counterweight to their common rival, the United States. The two leaders share a vision of an alternative world order where autocratic countries like China and Russia can operate free of interference from Washington and its allies.

The pomp and pageantry that greeted Mr. Putin in Beijing made clear the importance of that relationship and their “no limits” strategic alignment. Mr. Xi welcomed Mr. Putin at the Great Hall of the People with a tightly choreographed ceremony featuring a 21-gun salute, a marching band, an honor guard and children jumping and waving in sync.

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