By Alessandro Pellegrino, Staff Reporter, The Pawprint
The Chinese and Russian presidents met at the inauguration of the Winter Olympics for the first time after two years. The two saw each other at lunch, they talked face to face and then like two good friends they went to the stadium, with their new “five-circle pact” in their pocket. Yes, because Vladimir Putin was certainly the star among Xi Jinping’s guests in the stands for the opening of these Winter Olympics. Putin in Beijing embraces Xi: “We are the new global alliance”.
Fifteen agreements were made, gas and oil above all, worth 117.5 billion dollars. The meeting, however, served to show worldwide that relations between Moscow and Beijing are in excellent health, indeed, they are “unprecedented” as the Russian leader says, and they go even beyond purely economic aspects.
The Ukrainian crisis and the pressure from the West is the main reason why Putin flew this far; to seek an agreement with President Xi. The two in the joint declaration lashed out against NATO, opposing further enlargement and calling on the Atlantic Alliance to abandon its Cold War ideological attitudes. Ukraine was never mentioned but the reference is clear. Then there is everything for the West – the United States above all accused of “destabilizing” the international equilibrium. Also, the AUKUS (the alliance between Australia, the United Kingdom) has been brought up, and the US was been defined as an anti-Chinese function.
In reality, different positions are hidden behind the apparent unity in condemning the West. Beijing does not want to antagonize Europe nor does it intend to raise tension with the United States. Xi certainly doesn’t want to get his hands dirty in Ukraine, he doesn’t want to be too involved in a conflict that can only further deteriorate his relations with the EU.