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Putin and Xi to Meet before opening ceremony

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Putin and Xi to Meet before opening ceremony

Putin and Xi to Meet before opening ceremony
Photo: Sputnik/Reuters

Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping today before the Beijing Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony.

Topics on the agenda include Russia’s military build-up on Ukraine’s border, Sino-Russian military cooperation, and ongoing tensions between Russia and NATO.

In October and November, China and Russia conducted parallel naval exercises around Japan’s main island and sent bombers to probe Japanese and South Korean airspace. Russia is China’s main arms exporter and the top arms exporter to Chinese-rivals India and Vietnam. Ukraine, however, is China’s third-largest arms supplier, representing 36% of all Ukrainian military sales.

Expect any announcements from today’s meeting to focus on condemnation of the US and its allies, with few if any concrete military or investment proposals. If Russia invades Ukraine, expect Russian arms sales to China to decrease as Putin funnels resources into the conflict, particularly in hard-to-manufacture products such as submarines and air-defense systems. If Russia’s arm sales to China’s rivals continue in the long term, expect the US and its allies to use this to prevent any possible formal Russo-Chinese alliance.

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