On Wednesday, December 21st, Dmitri Medvedev, deputy chairman of Russia’s Security Council, concluded a two-day visit to Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing. The two agreed to work towards a “fairer global governance,” Chinese state news channel CGTN reported.
During the visit, they mainly discussed economic issues but also international ones, including the war in Ukraine. Medvedev, former president of Russia, had come by invitation from the Chinese Communist Party, the report stated. While there, Medvedev delivered a personal message from Russian President Putin in which the latter mentioned the “unprecedented level of Russian-Chinese political dialogue and practical cooperation,” TASS reports.
Putin was unable to come to Beijing in person since his presence was required at various meetings largely centered on the war in Ukraine in Russia as well as in Belarus.
A statement from Medvedev’s secretariat said that the two sides had
synchronized their watches on a number of significant international issues, highlighting the fact that Moscow’s and Beijing’s approaches to the most pressing global problems largely coincide, and touched on the issue of strategic foreign policy coordination, especially within the UN framework and at other multilateral venues, including the SCO, BRICS and the G20.
On behalf of the Putin-led United Russia party, which holds 325 of the 450 seats in the Duma, Medvedev congratulated Xi Jinping on the successful 20th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party as well as on his re-election as general secretary.
For his part, Xi told Medvedev that over the past 10 years, relations between China and Russia have withstood numerous tests related to changes in the international situation. He specified that “Beijing and Moscow have invariably ensured the harmonious and stable development of bilateral interaction at a high level.”
He said China is ready for “a rapprochement with Russia” to aid in “the shaping of the Chinese-Russian comprehensive strategic partnership in the new era,” a choice he said had been made by the two nations while taking into account “their unique national features and long-term strategic interests.”
“China, together with Russia, intends to facilitate a more fair and rational implementation of global governance,” he added—a clear reference to both China’s and Russia’s stated aim to replace what they see as a unipolar world, dominated by U.S. interests, with a multipolar one.
Concerning the war in Ukraine, Xi offered Beijing’s usual strategically ambivalent stance, neither condoning nor condemning. The Chinese president expressed hope for peace but said that “China takes an objective and fair position in the crisis in Ukraine,” and added that the parties involved should exercise restraint and carry out a comprehensive dialogue so that joint security concerns can be resolved through political means. Medvedev responded that there were reasons for the Ukraine crisis, and that it is very complicated, but that Russia is open to peace talks.
The talks between Medvedev and Xi Jinping constitute the first face-to-face meeting of the leaders of Russia’s and China’s ruling parties since the COVID-19 pandemic.
Beijing and Moscow agreed in June 2019 to upgrade their relations to a comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for a new era.
In 2013, on the eve of a state visit by Xi to Moscow, Putin remarked that the two nations were aligning as they were forging a “special relationship.” Years later, in 2021, Xi even ventured to say the relationship had become “better than an alliance.” Only days ago, Russian warships left port to take part in joint naval drills with China, due to be held later this week.
Taken together with Medvedev’s latest cordial visit, Sino-Russian relations have rarely been stronger.