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Xi Warns Putin: Stay Away from Pyongyang to Avoid Western Backlash

Daniel Kim Views  

Analysts suggest that China has expressed discomfort over Russia’s President Vladimir Putin’s visit to North Korea, which has elevated North Korea-Russia relations to an alliance level.

On the 19th, the BBC reported a sign of displeasure from Chinese President Xi Jinping regarding the strengthened relations between North Korea and Russia through the analysis report on the comprehensive strategic partnership treaty signed between Kim Jong Un and Vladimir Putin in Pyongyang.

Last month, during the China-Russia summit, Xi reportedly asked Putin not to visit Pyongyang. The BBC explains that China does not want to be seen in the same light as North Korea, an international pariah.

China’s sensitivity to the strengthened North Korea-Russia relations is mainly due to pressure from the United States and Europe. China is already under significant pressure from the US and Europe to cease support for Russia, such as part sales. This puts Xi in a position where he cannot ignore these warnings.

China needs foreign tourists and investment to maintain its position as the world’s second-largest economy and to escape its economic slowdown. BBC argues that Xi keeps balancing relations between the West and Russia for not wanting to be ostracized by the international community or face new economic pressures from the West.

While China is helping Russia and forming an alliance against the United States, it does not want to be deeply involved in Russia’s activities and turn the West, including the United States, into enemies. Additionally, China’s exclusive influence over North Korea, which it has maintained for a long time, is weakening.

This stance can also be seen in China’s state media coverage. The coverage of the North Korea-Russia summit has been kept to a minimum.

Chinese state-run CCTV aired a 20-second segment on the North Korea-Russia summit during its 7 PM news broadcast. The short two-sentence segment merely mentioned that the two leaders met and signed a comprehensive strategic partnership agreement. This is shorter than the 35-second segment aired during the summit in Russia’s Far East Amur region last September.

The Global Times, affiliated with the Communist Party’s People’s Daily, downplayed Putin’s visit to North Korea on the 20th. They instead highlighted that Putin is on his second Asian tour of the year, with stops in North Korea and Vietnam. It emphasized that Russia is intensifying its strategic focus on Asia and developing nations in the Southern Hemisphere.

Daniel Kim
content@viewusglobal.com

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