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China's Xi at Putin's 'Victory Day' parade. Friendship, business – or both?

Time:2015-04-22 Click:916

President Xi Jinping is the only major head of state attending Saturday's WWII anniversary celebration in Moscow. And Russia and China increasingly share commercial interests and perspectives. Yet is Xi bringing what Putin wants?

When Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping stand together on the Red Square reviewing stand at tomorrow’s military parade marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, the two leaders will doubtless share warm smiles and fraternal handshakes.

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The Chinese president’s attendance provides some consolation for the absence of leaders from the West at Moscow's celebration. But Mr. Xi is not bringing Mr. Putin what he most wants: solidarity against the West. 

Locked in a bitter dispute with the West over Ukraine’s future, Putin “would like China to support Russia against the United States,” says Sergey Lukonin, a China expert at the Institute of World Economy and International Relations, a government-linked think tank in Moscow

Recommended: How much do you know about China? Take our quiz.

For Beijing, however, whose interests in Russia are more coldly commercial and focused on oil and gas, that would be a step too far.

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