Xi’s trip to Moscow didn’t impress the west – but his most important audience is at home

The official narrative in China is that the US responds to problems militarily, while China uses dialogue, and there are signs this narrative is catching on

As Xi Jinping returns to Beijing after his first trip to Russia since the start of the war in Ukraine, the contradictory forces that dominate the Chinese leader’s relationship with Moscow are no closer to being resolved. Xi wants to be a strong ally to Vladimir Putin, Russia’s president, and a global peacemaker. Both cannot be true.

The red carpet and more – a brass band, Siberian salmon – was rolled out for Xi’s two-day visit to Moscow. Xi and Putin raised a glass to the “deepening of the Russian-Chinese partnership”. As well as shared political and economic interests, the relationship is also characterised to an unusual degree by the personal bond between Xi and Putin. Xi has described the Russian president as his “best friend” and has said that their characters are alike.

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