Xi to Putin: Russia, China Are Driving Change ‘Which Hasn’t Happened in 100 Years’

Xi to Putin: Russia, China Are Driving Change ‘Which Hasn’t Happened in 100 Years’
Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and Chinese leader Xi Jinping toast during their dinner at The Palace of the Facets is a building in the Moscow Kremlin, Russia, on March 21, 2023. (Pavel Byrkin, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)
Andrew Thornebrooke

Chinese communist leader Xi Jinping says that his regime and Vladimir Putin’s Russia are working together to drive forward a “change” that hasn’t been seen on the world stage in a century.

Putin had been hosting Xi in Moscow as a guest of honor this week as the two authoritarian powers continue to commit to increasing diplomatic, economic, and military cooperation.

As Xi left the Kremlin on March 22, he turned to Putin and said with a smile: “This is exactly, right now, the change which hasn’t happened in 100 years.

“And it is we, together, who are driving these changes forward.”

Putin replied, “I agree.”

“Please take care, dear friend,” Xi said before the two shook hands.

Putin then wished Xi a safe journey and waved goodbye to the Chinese leader from the sidewalk as Xi left in his state car.

The two leader’s parting exchange was captured on camera by media outlets.

China, Russia Vow to Create New World Order

The statement comes a day after the leaders openly pledged to reshape the international order to their interests, with Putin saying that China and Russia would create a more just “multipolar world order” to replace the “rules” of the current international order.

Xi’s reference to a change not seen in a century may be an allusion to the cementing of the modern rules-based international order that started to take shape after World War I, with the United States eventually emerging as a superpower.

Also around a century ago, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), which now rules China as a single-party state, was founded. Years earlier, the Bolsheviks vanquished the last remnants of the White Army and solidified the Soviet Union, in which Putin would later serve as a lieutenant colonel of the military’s foreign intelligence service.

Xi and Putin first declared a “no limits” partnership in February 2022, weeks before Russia launched its attempted conquest of Ukraine.

Hosting Xi this week was the grandest diplomatic gesture that Putin has conducted since that time, given Russia’s isolation on the world stage.

Putin and Xi, who referred to each other as a “dear friend” during the talks,  on March 21 pledged increased economic and strategic cooperation, signing a joint declaration to deepen the nations’ “comprehensive strategic partnership.”

The agreements further buttress Beijing and Moscow’s de facto alliance, which has been growing since Russia began its invasion of Ukraine. During that time, communist China has become Russia’s most important partner in trade and diplomacy, helping Moscow to carry on amid otherwise devastating international sanctions.

Putin said that Russia is willing to support Chinese companies that sought to replace Western businesses that exited the country over the war, and that the two countries should encourage businesses to use their own currencies.

Two leaders also discussed the construction of a second pipeline that could double Russia’s gas exports to China, Putin said.

Likewise, a statement from the CCP said that the two nations “shared the view that this relationship has gone far beyond the bilateral scope and acquired critical importance for the global landscape and the future of humanity.”

Fears Mount of Chinese Support for Russian Invasion

The growing partnership between the two powers throughout the war has many national leaders on edge on concern that the Beijing regime might supply lethal aid to Russia for use in Ukraine, thereby escalating the conflict and possibly expanding the war to other nations.
The United States has consistently warned that the CCP could provide weapons or munitions to the Russian military, and in recent months has underscored that the regime hasn’t taken such an arrangement off the table.

The White House has already acknowledged that Chinese companies have directly supported Russia’s war in Ukraine but stopped short of saying that such support amounts to lethal aid.

When the White House issued sanctions on numerous international bodies related to Russia’s war on Feb. 24, for example, it also targeted Chinese entities accused of backfilling Russia’s defense industry, effectively helping the regime skirt sanctions.
China previously falsified shipping documents to disguise military aviation equipment bound for Russia as civil in nature and used intermediaries in the United Arab Emirates to deliver dual-use drones to Russia, according to a February report by German media outlet Der Spiegel.

That same report alleged that the CCP is currently preparing a shipment of suicide drones to Russia for use in Ukraine.

Similarly, a report by Japan’s Kyodo News that cites anonymous U.S. government sources claims that Chinese ammunition has been found on battlefields in Ukraine. The report clarified, however, that there was no evidence that the CCP sold the ammunition to Russia directly.
Andrew Thornebrooke is a national security correspondent for The Epoch Times covering China-related issues with a focus on defense, military affairs, and national security. He holds a master's in military history from Norwich University.
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