Here Is What Putin and Xi Agreed to During Their Moscow Meeting
Vladimir V. Putin of Russia and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, sought to project a sense of unity and normalcy on Tuesday, during the second day of Mr. Xi’s grand state visit, which included the signing of 14 agreements.
“We signed a statement on deepening the strategic partnership and bilateral ties, which are entering a new era,” Mr. Xi said, following talks with Mr. Putin in the Kremlin. He added that his conversations with the Russian leader were “frank, friendly and rich in results.”
However, Alexander Gabuev, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, described the agreements as “pretty thin.”
He said they were mostly incremental updates to arrangements that both parties had agreed to before the summit, including an addendum to a 1997 agreement creating a framework for regular meetings between the leaders of China and Russia and an agreement about a nuclear power plant that Russia is already building in China. Both countries also agreed to cooperate “in the field of joint production of television programs.”
What was missing, Mr. Gabuev said, was a deal on a natural gas line known as Power of Siberia 2 that Mr. Putin is keen on building to boost energy sales to China.
He noted that this was due in part to Mr. Putin’s increasing status as a global pariah, which was reinforced last week when the International Criminal Court announced an arrest warrant for him accusing him of war crimes in Ukraine.
“There is some substantive agenda,” Mr. Gabuev said, “but it’s nothing where you can pin Xi Jinping down and say, ‘Oh, but with this agreement you are providing money to Putin’s war chest. You financed this genocidal war in the middle of a kind of Russian terrorist campaign against Ukrainian civil infrastructure.”
Also missing was any public breakthrough to end the yearlong war in Ukraine. Mr. Xi had framed his visit to Moscow as a peace mission, Mr. Gabuev said, but the result was a clear signal to the rest of the world that not only is China gaining increased leverage in Russia, it also plays by its own rules.
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