Putin's Diplomatic Visit to China Amidst Israel-Hamas Conflict
Putin's Diplomatic Visit to China Amidst Israel-Hamas Conflict

In a strategic move to strengthen their burgeoning alliance, Russian President Vladimir Putin is scheduled to embark on a high-profile visit to China this week. The visit, set to take place from October 17th to 18th, will not only reaffirm the deepening ties between the two superpowers but also serve as a significant event on the global stage.

At the heart of Putin's visit is his attendance at the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing, a monumental gathering where China plays host to representatives from 130 countries. Remarkably, this marks Putin's first excursion beyond the borders of the former Soviet Union since March when the International Criminal Court in The Hague issued a warrant against him, alleging his involvement in the deportation of children from Ukraine.

China and Russia solidified their "no limits" partnership in February 2022, just days before Putin's decision to deploy tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine, setting in motion the deadliest land conflict in Europe since World War Two. The leaders of these nations share a common worldview, characterizing the West as being in a state of decline, even as China seeks to challenge U.S. dominance across various domains, from quantum computing and synthetic biology to espionage and military power.

This significant meeting takes place at a time when the international community remains divided over the Israel-Palestine conflict. While the United States and its allies have publicly supported Israel, both China and Russia have aligned themselves with Palestine. Speculations are rife that a joint statement may be forthcoming from the two countries, potentially shaping the dynamics of this enduring and complex conflict.

The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) summit, which coincides with the Israel-Hamas conflict, has become a prominent stage for global diplomacy. While China aims to elevate its stature as a leading global power through the forum, the ongoing hostilities between Israel and the Palestinian militant organization Hamas continue to command global attention. Leaders from around the world are convening in the Chinese capital for this pivotal event.

China has taken a clear stance on the conflict, with Foreign Minister Wang Yi condemning Israel's actions as having gone "beyond the scope of self-defense." He called for an immediate cessation of the collective punishment imposed on the people of Gaza by Israel. Wang stated, "(Israel) should earnestly heed the calls of the international community and the UN Secretary-General to halt its collective punishment of Gaza's population."

Critics from Western nations have pointed out that China's statements on the Israel-Gaza conflict have notably refrained from explicitly naming Hamas, the Palestinian militant group. This diplomatic choice has attracted attention and commentary on the global stage.

It is worth noting that China enjoys a warm relationship with Iran, whose clerical leadership provides support to both Hamas and Hezbollah, the Lebanese militant group that has the potential to open a second front against Israel. In a remarkable display of diplomacy earlier this year, China brokered an entente between regional rivals Iran and Saudi Arabia, further underscoring China's growing influence on the global stage.

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