Newswise — Chinese leader Xi Jinping is meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin for official talks on Tuesday. The visit offers a show of support for the Kremlin, while further aligning the two countries in their mutual rivalry with the West.

Jessica Chen Weiss is a professor of China and Asia-Pacific studies at Cornell University.

Weiss says:

“Xi’s visit to Moscow reflects the continuing premium he places on partnering with Russia against what he has called US efforts to contain and suppress China. However, he is also trying to reassure investors and stabilize China’s relationship with Europe, which helps explain China’s efforts to put forward a position paper on a peace settlement for Ukraine and anticipated virtual engagement with Zelensky.

“It will be very difficult for Xi to thread the needle between strengthening his partnership with Putin without doing greater damage to China’s relations in Europe. And reports of Chinese munitions in Ukraine will create pressure for additional sanctions on Chinese entities.

“Ultimately, China’s importance as the second largest economy in the world, combined with the possibility that China could eventually play a role in brokering or securing a settlement, may be enough to prevent Zelensky and other European leaders from turning their backs on China altogether.”