onsdag 2. februar 2022

As relations deteriorate with the West, Putin and Xi are getting closer

When Chinese President Xi Jinping welcomes leaders from around the world for the Opening Ceremony of the Beijing Olympics on Friday, it will be his first time meeting foreign counterparts face-to-face in more than 400 days. And at the top of his guest list is Russia's Vladimir Putin.

A summit between the two leaders, expected to take place on the day of the Opening Ceremony, comes at a pivotal moment for both sides, as the massing of Russian troops at the border with Ukraine fuels fears of an imminent invasion -- an event that would be sure to overshadow China's Olympic moment. The face-to-face will also add a new milestone in what has become an increasingly close partnershipbetween Beijing and Moscow, as relations with the West deteriorate for both.

Putin is among a small group of world leaders to attend the Games, with Western governments including the United States, Britain and Australia, having declared a diplomatic boycott over China's human rights record. Other leaders have turned down invitations, citing Beijing's stringent Covid-19 controls.
This means Beijing 2022 will cut a sharp contrast to the city's 2008 Summer Games, when then-US President George Bush and other Western leaders were pictured glad-handing Chinese officials while cheering on their national teams.