Russia - China Summit

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What’s in today’s article?

  • Why in News?
  • China – Russia friendship

Why in News?

Recently, Presidents Vladimir Putin arrived in Beijing for a two-day state visit. During this visit, he met with President Xi Jinping met at the historic Great Hall of the People, seat of power of the Chinese Communist Party.

During this visit, both the leaders signed and issued a joint statement on deepening China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for a new era. Both leaders pledged to deepen their strategic partnership.

This was Putin’s first international visit since the start of his fifth presidential term.

China – Russia friendship

  • Relationship – historical background
    • The relationship between China and the Soviet Union did not begin well. 
      • When Chairman Mao Zedong visited Moscow after the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, he was made to wait for weeks for a meeting with Joseph Stalin.
    • During the Cold War, China and the USSR were rivals, competing for control of the global communist movement. 
    • Tensions between the countries rose dangerously in the early 1960s, and they fought a brief border war in 1969.
    • The relationship began to improve after the death of Mao in 1976, but remained frosty right until the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.
    • In the post-Cold War-era, economic relations have formed the new strategic basis for Sino-Russian relations. 
      • China became Russia’s biggest trading partner, and the largest Asian investor in Russia. 
      • China views Russia as a powerhouse of raw material and a valuable market for its consumer goods.
    • The hostile approach of Western countries led by USA towards Russia after the annexation of Crimea in 2014 brought Moscow closer to Beijing.
  • Nature of relationship
    • As per the leaders of both the countries, the relations between China and Russia are not opportunistic, and are not directed against anyone.
    • President Xi said the China-Russia friendship was everlasting, and had become a model for a new type of international relations.
    • On the other hand, a White House spokesperson had said that the China-Russia relationship was a marriage of convenience.
  • Relationship against the backdrop of the Ukraine War
    • China and Russia signed a no-limits strategic partnership only days before Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022.
    • The Chinese role in the war has been a major concern for the West, led by the United States.
      • The US believes China is supplying tech that Russia is using to build missiles, tanks, and other battlefield weapons.
      • Russian imports of machine tools, computer chips, and other dual-use items from China have increased significantly. 
        • The sales of Chinese logistics equipment like lorries (to transport troops) and excavators (to dig trenches) to Russia have increased by four to seven times since the war began.
  • China – Russia friendship: concerns for India
    • For New Delhi, the Russia-China defence axis throws up critical questions.
    • About 60-70% of Indian defence supplies come from Russia, and India needs regular and reliable supplies.
      • This is crucial especially at a time when Indian and Chinese soldiers are locked in a standoff at the border for the last four years.
    • Experts in India are also worried about a scenario in which Russia becomes a “junior partner” of China.
    • Analysts claim that if war broke out between India and China, Russia's response would be uncertain. 
      • During the 1962 war, the Soviet Union did not support India. In contrast, Moscow backed India during the 1971 war. 
      • However, today's Russia under Vladimir Putin is different from the old Soviet Union, and its stance might vary.

Q.1. What is the geographical location of Crimea?

Crimea lies on a peninsula stretching out from the south of Ukraine between the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov. It is separated from Russia to the east by the narrow Kerch Strait.

Q.2. Who was Mao Zedong?

Mao Zedong was a Chinese politician, Marxist theorist, military strategist, poet, and revolutionary who was the founder of the People's Republic of China. He led the country from its establishment in 1949 until his death in 1976, while also serving as the chairman of the Chinese Communist Party during that time.

Source: Vladimir Putin meets Xi Jinping: With deepening Russia-China ties, what are the concerns for India? | News on Air | Times of India