On June 8th, Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping signed a joint statement touching on some of the most urgent issues in international relations. In so doing, the Russian and Chinese leaders also pledged to take the two countries’ cooperation “to a new level.”
Putin and Xi’s joint declaration condemned the US’ withdrawal from the nuclear deal with Iran, called for the plan to be preserved, and emphasized “the principal importance of defending the interests of all states’ trade and economic cooperation with Iran from unilateral extraterritorial sanctions.”
Another unilateral aggression on the part of the US was condemned in the document: the deployment of US missile systems in both Asia and Europe under “pretexts.” On this note, Putin and Xi seized the occasion to defend the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Syria and to support the fight against terrorism “without double standards.”
Western propaganda was also targeted in Putin and Xi’s condemnation of hysteria being wound up against Russia’s hosting of the World Club. The two leaders stated clearly: “International sporting competitions and events should not suffer from the influence of non-sports factors.”
Moving forward, Russia and China pledged to work side by side in coordinating peaceful stabilization processes in Korea and Afghanistan. These areas of geopolitical collaboration are meant to be part of a full-blown strengthening of Russian-Chinese cooperation with a package of measures. Most importantly, the statement announces that Russia and China will up their strategic cooperation in the military and law and order spheres. In the economic sector, the commitment to trade in national currencies, not the US Dollar, in financial and trade dealings was reinforced in the statement.
Finally, in the biggest swing of them all, Putin and Xi insisted on reforming the United Nations. They especially emphasized their intention “to oppose attempts by any states to carry out unilateral military operations without a suitable mandate from the UN Security Council or the agreements of the legal state of the country on whose territory these operations are carried out.” And even the latter cases, Putin and Xi said, should be last resorts behind commitments to “refusing to use force or threaten the use of force, non-interference by one state in the internal and external affairs of another state, and the resolution of international conflicts through strictly political-diplomatic methods.”
In other words, Russia and China have agreed to not only see eye-to-eye on the most pressing issues in international relations, but have pledged to cooperate on reforming the international system in a more stable, peaceful, and just direction.
In effect, Putin and Xi have signed off on a full-blown Chinese-Russian geopolitical alliance with the strategic goal of multipolarity. This is a culmination of a long process of convergence ever since Russia and China signed the “Russian-Chinese Joint Declaration on a Multipolar World and the Establishment of a New International Order” back in 1997.
This declaration is one of the accomplishments of Vladimir Putin’s visit to China from June 8th-10th, the final event of which will see Putin participating in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in Qingdao.
Putin and Xi’s declaration is a symbolically enormous step in the formation of multipolarity. This move’s practical manifestations will soon be seen in this already climactic period of Atlanticism in crisis.