Xi and Putin: Two Peas in a Pod
By Everton Prospere
Image Provided by Financial Times
On March 20th, 2023, Presidents Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin, of China and Russia, respectively, met in Moscow for bilateral talks between their two countries. The leaders of both countries, which are remnants of their former communist selves, sought to improve their relationship. Although a strongly criticized move by the United States, the diplomatic visit allowed Xi Jinping and Putin to emphasize China and Russia’s continuing cooperation with each other to counteract the Western powers.
The visit itself focused on two main discussions: military power and the economic status between both countries. According to CNN, both Putin and Xi are distressed by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the Australia, United Kingdom, and United States (AUKUS) alliance. As a war continues to rage in Ukraine, Putin worries about the further encroachment by NATO closer to Russian territory. For example, Finland, recently approved by all member states to join NATO, will be one of a handful of countries bordering Russia, if the process finishes. For Xi, the AUKUS pact between three Western powers will play a critical role in the Indo-Pacific region. In particular, this alliance will help Australia obtain nuclear powered submarines. Therefore, both leaders feel as if the sovereignty of their countries has been threatened immensely through these alliances. In order to combat this, both countries agreed to “further deepen military mutual trust,” through joint military exercises. These demonstrations highlight the commitment to strengthening the unity through military force between the two nations.
With the grand exodus of companies from Russia in response to the war in Ukraine, Russia’s economy has plummeted in recent months. In addition, Europe seeks to halt its dependence on Russian oil to cut ties with the country. However, as per CNN, Russia and China agreed to “build a closer energy partnership,” with hopes of a gas pipeline being built through Mongolia to provide resources and connect both countries economically. This would effectively replace the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which has not begun operations in response to the war effort. Evidently, China and Russia will forge a closer economic bond, pushing away the Western powerhouse in an effort to dismantle the domination of the United States.
As Russia and China grow a stronger bond, the two men in charge, Xi and Putin, clearly pull the reigns on both states. Both leaders, effectively autocrats, have clearly shown their desire to reach new heights together. Their indistinguishable personalities and actions have made them two peas from the same pod.