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WorldAsiaRussian Premier Mishustin's China Visit Interwoven with Ukraine Events, Western Press Discovers

Russian Premier Mishustin’s China Visit Interwoven with Ukraine Events, Western Press Discovers

Foreign media jealously watching the trip of the head of the Russian government


Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin’s visit to China has generated considerable interest in the Western media. It is indicative that some of the foreign media outlets published articles about the trip under the rubric devoted to the conflict in Ukraine.

Mishustin became the highest-ranking Russian figure to visit the Chinese capital since the conflict in Ukraine began in February 2022, The VoA noted.

“China claims to be a neutral party in relations between Russia and Ukraine and wants to help end the conflict. But it accuses the West of provoking Moscow and maintains strong diplomatic and trade ties with Russia in opposition to sanctions against it,” the Associated Press commented on the Russian prime minister’s visit to China. The news agency recalls that the other day the Chinese special envoy, former Chinese ambassador to Russia Li Hui, met with Zelensky and other government officials during talks in Kiev.

The visit followed a phone call last month between the Ukrainian president and Xi Jinping, the first known contact between them since the conflict began. Beijing unveiled a peace plan in February, but Ukraine’s allies have largely rejected it, the AP points out.

The simultaneous trips by the Chinese special envoy and the Russian premier, Bloomberg believes, symbolize how Beijing is balancing maintaining ties with Moscow while trying to portray Xi Jinping as a global peacemaker with unique ties to leaders on both sides of the Ukrainian conflict.

Chinese Premier Li Qiang said Wednesday that China is ready to cooperate with Russia to promote their pragmatic cooperation in various fields and take it to a “new level,” Reuters reported, publishing a piece with the eloquent headline “Russia and China make economic agreements despite Western disapproval.”

CNN, commenting on the Russian prime minister’s visit to China, noted that although Russia has suffered from “unprecedented Western sanctions” and has been “cut off from much of the world economy” because of the conflict in Ukraine, “China, which has declared its friendship with its northern neighbor “boundless,” has thrown the Kremlin an economic lifeline by mitigating the consequences of being expelled from the global financial system.

Last year, bilateral trade between Russia and China jumped nearly 30 percent to a record $190 billion, mostly thanks to Chinese purchases of Russian energy products. This year, trade has continued to grow, rising 41 percent in the first four months, CNN reported, citing Chinese customs data.

The channel also cites figures voiced by Mikhail Mishustin: trade between Russia and China is expected to reach a new record level of $200 billion this year.

According to most Chinese customs statistics, Russia has overtaken Saudi Arabia to become China’s largest supplier of crude oil since February, CNN continues, noting that Moscow and Beijing have also planned the Power of Siberia-2 pipeline to bring more Russian gas to China via Mongolia.

Although CNN notes that the project has not yet been completed, the channel reminds that in March Putin said: the three countries have completed all agreements on the completion of the pipeline and that Russia will supply at least 98 billion cubic meters of gas to China by 2030.

The $200 billion figure also means that China will buy more agricultural products from Russia and Chinese companies will produce more cars locally in the country, CNN noted, citing the Beijing-based Global Times.

Against the backdrop of the ongoing rapprochement between Moscow and Beijing, the remarks by the new Chinese ambassador to Washington on Tuesday do not inspire much optimism for Americans.

Xie Feng, the chief of China’s diplomatic mission in the United States, said that he wanted to strengthen U.S.-Chinese relations at a time of “serious difficulties and challenges. And if the first part of his statement was “for health,” the second part was “for peace. And no wonder – the specifics of the current times, as CNN explains, have been marked by a tumultuous period in relations between Washington and Beijing. The most striking moments are the rising tensions after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan and Secretary of State Anthony Blinken canceling a planned visit to China after a Chinese balloon that flew over U.S. territory was shot down by the U.S. military.

Copyright © 2023 The Eastern Herald.

Muzaffar Ahmad Noori Bajwa
Muzaffar Ahmad Noori Bajwa
Editor-in-chief of The Eastern Herald, Political & Foreign Relations Strategist. Hails from Punjab, India.


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