Chinese President and Vladimir Putin are due to sign very important diplomatic and economic documents on the second day of Xi Jinping’s visit to Russia. The United States suspects arms sales.

Chinese President Xi Jinping (L) and Russian President Vladimir Putin (D), March 20, 2023 in the Kremlin. (SERGEI KARPUKHIN / SPUTNIK)

Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin will get to the heart of the matter on Tuesday March 21 after the first exchanges of courtesies on Monday and the dinner between the two heads of state in the Kremlin, the whole thing already totaling nearly 4.5 hours of discussions between the two men. The two parties announce the signing of very important documents of diplomatic and economic significance. It is about increased cooperation, a common worldview and opposition to American hegemony. While China officially calls for peace in Ukraine, but without condemning the Russian invasion, the question arises whether Beijing could go so far as to supply arms to Moscow which has supply problems.

Strengthen cooperation

US intelligence says China is considering delivering weapons to Russia but admits it hasn’t seen any signs or evidence of it so far. Beijing also denies having such a project. Will this file be on the table on Tuesday during bilateral discussions in Moscow? It is unlikely that either of them will mention it. But on the Russian side in any case, they say they do not believe in such a possibility. The risk would be too great for Beijing, believes pro-Kremlin diplomatic expert Vasily Kashin. “Russia, of course, would like to receive all possible support, he agrees. But we understand that some things are possible and others are not”.

“China has its own interests which obviously could suffer if it starts supplying Russia with lethal weapons.”

“In addition, the Chinese are in a state of increasing confrontation with the United States and at the same time they do not want the situation to deteriorate too quickly. So, for now, they are holding back,” says the expert. .

If China does not plan to deliver weapons to Russia, Moscow could on the other hand be tempted to accept transfers of military technology to China, in exchange for increased economic cooperation which Russia needs to limit the effects Western sanctions.