Putin and Xi to highlight Russia-China summit as US and allies diplomatically boycott Olympics
The United States and its key allies will diplomatically boycott next month’s Winter Olympics in China, but Russian President Vladimir Putin is set to seize the Games to highlight strategic ties between Moscow and Beijing.
As the United States, Australia, Japan and the United Kingdom turn away official delegations to protest the Chinese government’s human rights abuses, Mr Putin plans to attend the ceremony. opening of the Games and to speak directly with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
“Preparations for the Russia-China summit to be held in Beijing on February 4, the opening day of the Winter Olympics, are well underway, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said,” according to a report released on Friday. by the official Moscow TASS. Press Agency.
The agency specifically quoted Mr. Lavrov as saying, “We are preparing an official Russian-Chinese summit. Russian President Vladimir Putin, at the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping, will visit Beijing… and full-scale talks at the highest level will take place.
Mr. Putin’s visit with Mr. Xi comes amid growing concern in U.S. national security circles about military cooperation between Russia and China at a time which, according to strategic reports from the Pentagon, will be defined by the “great power competition” between Washington, Beijing and Moscow.
China and Russia have autocratic governments intolerant of dissent, and the two have engaged in increased military cooperation over the past year, including holding large-scale joint naval exercises in October.
While the US media has focused intensely on Russian provocations against former Soviet republics such as Ukraine, some US analysts point to Washington’s broader concerns about the prospect of broader security cooperation between China and Russia.
Beijing notably offered rhetorical support this month when Moscow sent Russian troops to Kazakhstan to help crush an opposition uprising against the authoritarian Kremlin-aligned government.
The Biden administration, meanwhile, has said its decision not to send American diplomats to the Olympics in China was motivated by a desire to protest the Chinese government’s own high-handed tactics, particularly against Uyghur Muslims and Muslims. other minorities.
US officials accuse China – called the People’s Republic of China (PRC) – of perpetrating genocide against these groups in China’s Xinjiang province.
“The Biden administration will not send any diplomatic or official representation to the Beijing 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games given the PRC’s ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang and other human rights abuses. man,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Dec. 6.
Britain, Australia and Japan later joined the diplomatic boycott, citing similar reasons.
Russian officials made no mention of the Chinese government’s actions in Xinjiang ahead of Putin’s impending visit to Beijing.
On Friday, Lavrov said the Putin-Xi talks on Feb. 4 “will encompass the full range of relations that are distinguished by an intensive bilateral agenda and the unique architecture of bilateral relations that Russia has with virtually no one in other”.