China’s authoritarian President Xi Jinping and Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin share similar views on issues from human rights to Mikhail Gorbachev, in an increasingly close personal relationship that mirrors their countries’ converging interests, media reports said.
Putin arrives in Beijing Sunday for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit and his 10th meeting with Xi since the Chinese president took office in March last year, according to the Communist mouthpiece People’s Daily.
Their growing rapport comes as their nations’ trade, investment and geopolitical interests align.
Moscow faces harsh Western criticism and sanctions over its seizure of Crimea and the conflict in eastern Ukraine, as well as opprobrium for its approach to dissent and homosexuality.
Beijing also has tense relationships over territorial disputes with neighbors such as Japan, Vietnam and the Philippines, and has recently been the target of criticism over demands for free elections in Hong Kong.
“The situation is pushing the two countries towards closer ties, both are facing very heavy pressures, Russia in Ukraine and China in Hong Kong,” said Vladimir Yevseyev, director of the Moscow-based independent Public Political Studies Center.
“Xi comes from a background close to the military-industrial complex, he is a man who is much closer to the structures of power enforcement than his predecessor (Hu Jintao),” Yevseyev said.
“Putin understands him better, their outlooks are identical,” he added. “Xi is inclined to confrontation if necessary, which pleases Putin.”