As Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin grow ever closer, their mutual distrust of the US may be their strongest bond.
The last time Vladimir Putin visited China, he went home with the promise of friendly partnership from Xi Jinping. Less than a month later, the Russian president launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. But in the 20 months since then, he’s found himself in ever-greater need of economic and diplomatic support from his friend to the east.
The two leaders and their nations have become closer because of the war, forming an alliance of sorts that could have broad implications for the world in general—and the US in particular. In the Bloomberg Originals mini-documentary Why China-Russia Ties Worry the US, we explore how Russia’s reliance on China has expanded at a fast pace, how it has transformed Russian markets and what it means for a fraught geopolitical landscape. As Xi and Putin grow more friendly, the video illustrates how their mutual distrust of the US may be their strongest bond.
The West has brought down upon the Kremlin wave after wave of sanctions in the wake of its aggression. As a result, China’s exports to Russia have jumped—climbing 57% so far this year. Just last month, the yuan accounted for almost half of the value of all foreign exchange trading in Moscow—up from just 0.4% in January 2022. And China is now the largest importer of Russian fossil fuels, with coal shipments more than doubling since 2020.
Xi has even more to gain from this relationship in the long term. The Chinese president has long sought to elevate the yuan in a bid to challenge the global dominance of the US dollar. The war in Ukraine, as it turns out, has done more for his cause than any policymaking in Beijing.
Read More: Will Xi Jinping’s Gamble on Vladimir Putin Pay Off?
To see more Bloomberg Originals video documentaries, click here.
To subscribe to the Bloomberg Originals YouTube channel, click here.
— With assistance by Rebecca Choong Wilkins and Colum Murphy