Wandering China

An East/West pulse of China's fourth rise from down under.

New Leader of China Plans a Visit to Moscow [New York Times] #China #XiJinPing #Russia


China makes a big move to solidify its network of friendly powers. Russia is perhaps the most important of all.

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New Leader of China Plans a Visit to Moscow
By JANE PERLEZ

Source – New York Times, published: February 21, 2013

BEIJING — The Chinese leader, Xi Jinping, has selected Moscow as his first foreign capital to visit as president, to be followed immediately by a trip to South Africa for a summit meeting of the group of leading emerging-market countries.

His predecessor, Hu Jintao, also chose Moscow as his first overseas stop after assuming office, but Mr. Xi’s journey to Russia has a special significance, analysts say. It comes as China tries to answer the Obama administration’s shift toward Asia, a policy that is viewed with suspicion in Beijing as an effort to contain China.

His predecessor, Hu Jintao, also chose Moscow as his first overseas stop after assuming office, but Mr. Xi’s journey to Russia has a special significance, analysts say. It comes as China tries to answer the Obama administration’s shift toward Asia, a policy that is viewed with suspicion in Beijing as an effort to contain China.

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By going to Russia, Mr. Xi will be working to ensure that China’s relationship with Moscow — a sometimes prickly affair in which the balance of power has tilted sharply in China lately — is in good shape before he meets with President Obama later in the year, analysts said.

There have also been indications that Mr. Xi and the Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin, would try to hammer out a long-sought energy deal that would provide China with Russian oil and gas. “China wants to consolidate its position with Russia before dealing with the United States,” said Jin Canrong, associate dean at the School of International Studies at Renmin University. In particular, he said, China is likely to seek Russian support in its territorial dispute with Japan, an American ally, over islands in the East China Sea.

Mr. Xi is not expected to meet Mr. Obama until September, when both leaders will attend a summit meeting of the Group of 20 nations in St. Petersburg, Russia, Chinese officials said.

The Chinese have not released a precise date for Mr. Xi’s visit to Moscow, largely because he will not formally become president until the National People’s Congress meets in Beijing starting on March 5. He is now leader of the Communist Party, a post he assumed in November.

In Moscow on Tuesday, Mr. Putin said he looked forward to the visit of Mr. Xi “soon.” The Chinese foreign minister, Yang Jiechi, who was in Moscow on Tuesday, confirmed the planned visit.

Chinese state media reported this week that Mr. Xi would stop in Russia on his way to the meeting of the leaders of the so-called BRICS nations in Durban, South Africa, on March 26 and 27. BRICS stands for Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

There were few expectations that Mr. Xi and Mr. Obama would meet earlier than September, although the men are expected to speak by telephone once Mr. Xi assumes the presidency, officials said. Mr. Obama welcomed Mr. Xi to the White House in February 2012 when Mr. Xi was vice president.

Word of Mr. Xi’s itinerary comes as the new American secretary of state, John Kerry, is starting his first overseas trip this weekend, a nine-country tour of Europe and the Middle East. In contrast, his predecessor, Hillary Rodham Clinton, departed from tradition and visited Asia first, including China.

Tensions between China and the United States have grown lately over a variety of issues, including accusations that China’s military is responsible for cyberattacks of American companies. Those strains mean there are hazards in delaying a face-to-face meeting for very long, according to Bonnie S. Glaser, senior adviser for Asia at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.

“In the absence of presidential dialogue, there is risk of intensifying suspicion and potential for the relationship to drift apart,” Ms. Glaser said. “An early summit would be undoubtedly welcomed by the entire region, which is somewhat anxious about U.S.-Chinese friction.”

China and Russia, on the other hand, have drawn closer lately on major international issues, displaying common interests on issues that are important to the United States, like the conflict in Syria and the nuclear ambitions of Iran and North Korea. Those matters are likely to be on the agenda for Mr. Xi’s visit to Moscow, along with increased cooperation on energy policy.

Bree Feng contributed research.

A version of this article appeared in print on February 22, 2013, on page A10 of the New York edition with the headline: New Leader Of China Plans a Visit To Moscow.

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Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Communications, Government & Policy, History, Influence, International Relations, New Leadership, Peaceful Development, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Russia, Soft Power, Strategy, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities

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