Putin and Xi: the threat of a Sino-Russian bloc?

There was no handshake because of Covid, but an unmistakable closing of ranks: Russia's President Vladimir Putin and China's leader Xi Jinping demonstrated unity against the West at their meeting in Beijing. They emphasised their common ground, rejected Nato expansion, criticised the "abuse" of democratic values and concluded a new gas supply contract. Europe's press voices concern.

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Hospodářské noviny (CZ) /

A danger to democracies worldwide

Hospodářské noviny looks with concern at the rapprochement:

“Putin and Xi have one major, comprehensive and strategic interest: to dismantle the world built on rules laid down by democracies in recent decades. A wave of authoritarian governments that has been sweeping the world since the financial crisis of 2008/2009 is helping the two presidents in this endeavour. ... The pathetic state of democracy worldwide was also evident at the opening of the Winter Olympics. The absence of democratic politicians turned it into a parade of politicians who support heavy-handed governments. Of the 21 heads of state and government present, only eight came from countries that can be described as democracies.”

Mediafax (RO) /

Joining forces to conquer the world

China and Russia are getting along better than they have in a long time, writes historian Marius Oprea in Mediafax:

“This alliance, which is basically directed against the US, is in fact a historic partnership with 'no limits', as Putin and Xi Jinping have proclaimed. The past is buried. China and Russia want to conquer the world together. The announced economic and strategic agreements on resources and technologies make the two superpowers a global superpower. In addition, there are less transparent agreements of a military nature that can only show one thing: that Beijing supports Moscow in its conflict with the West.”

La Repubblica (IT) /

United in a threatening stance

The demonstrative concord between Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin is based primarily on their focus on the hostile West, sums up La Repubblica:

“China took a direct stand on the Atlantic Alliance for the first time and demanded an end to its expansion in Eastern Europe. It also attacked the West and demanded an end to all measures to promote democracy, globalise rights and support demands for independence, from Ukraine's to Georgia's and Kazakhstan's. Xi Jinping spoke about Ukraine, but he had Taiwan in mind.”

Der Tagesspiegel (DE) /

Xi using Putin

Der Tagesspiegel asks whether the West has cause to fear the Russian-Chinese alliance:

“Putin and Xi are united by their desire to show the US the limits of its power. But they are not equal partners. With the exception of the military, Russia is far inferior to China. Xi uses Putin when he's useful. ... The longer Putin keeps Joe Biden's attention focused on Ukraine, the less energy the US president will have to compete with China in Asia, much to Xi's delight. ... China is a far more powerful adversary than Putin. Nevertheless the lesson is the same: the democracies of Europe, America and Asia must stand united against any threats against any one them. Only then will they have a chance of standing their ground.”

Ukrajinska Prawda (UA) /

Advantage for Kyiv

Michajlo Samus, director of the New Geopolitics Research Network, writes in Ukrayinska Pravda:

“The emergence of new 'poles' in which Russia is not on the side of Europe and the US is an opportunity to reduce Russian influence in the EU. As a result, the West's attitude towards Ukraine will change, in other words integration with Europe and the Atlantic will accelerate. ... Let's also not forget that China has very specific interests with regard to Russia, meaning that Russia is facing turbulent times in which its 'ally' can calmly embrace it in a bear hug. ... For the West, unlike for us, the risks here are much greater.”

Daily Sabah (TR) /

Turkey would be the better partner in Europe

When it comes to Putin'sUkraine problem Ankara may well have more to offer than Beijing, says Daily Sabah:

“One thing is clear: Putin just carved out strategic room for himself amid tensions with the US and Nato. Notwithstanding, China is not in a position to lend concrete support to Russia's security concerns in Europe. At the same time, the Russian president needs fresh initiatives in the Ukraine crisis, including Turkey's mediation offer. Warning Kyiv not to get carried away by the West's statements, Ankara could facilitate Moscow's efforts to find new ways to end the crisis.”