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WELLINGTON: All eyes have been on Chinese President Xi Jinping’s high-stakes visit to Moscow, just days after Russian President Vladimir Putin became an alleged war criminal with a warrant issued by the International Criminal Court at the Hague.

On Tuesday (Mar 21), Xi and Putin signed a joint declaration deepening the China-Russia partnership, more than a year after they proclaimed “no limits” to that relationship in Beijing before Putin launched his “special military operation” in Ukraine.

But what does Xi really want from Putin and more importantly, did Xi get what he wanted?


Much attention around Xi’s visit, of course, has been on Ukraine, with Western concerns that China might support Russia militarily.

China has been walking a political tightrope given its long-held principle of respecting national sovereignty. Xi has not openly supported Putin’s war, with China taking a more neutral position than what Putin might have expected from a “no limits” friend. But neither has China condemned the war, having abstained from several rounds of voting at the United Nations.