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Putin, Xi and the limits of friendship

Russia’s losing war in Ukraine is also a major strategic setback for China

ON Feb 4, 3 weeks before Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Vladimir Putin met Xi Jinping in Beijing. A joint statement by the 2 leaders announced that friendship between Russia and China "has no limits".

Seven months on, Xi may be regretting those words. Speaking before a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Council in Uzbekistan, Putin promised to address the "questions and concerns" that China has about the Ukraine war.

Neither Putin nor Xi chose to elaborate on those concerns in public. But it is not hard to guess. The war has weakened Russia, destabilised Eurasia and strengthened the Western alliance. None of that looks good, viewed from Beijing.

The Feb 4 statement made it clear that the foundation...

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