The Cable

Russia and China Hold Hands Ahead of G-20 Summit

Expect trade deals and more anti-U.S. posturing as the Chinese president meets with Putin ahead of the G-20 summit.

Russia's President Vladimir Putin (R) greets his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping during a document signing ceremony in Moscow, on March 22, 2013. Xi Jinping arrived today in Moscow on his first foreign trip, to cement ties between the two countries by inking a raft of energy and investment accords. AFP PHOTO/ ALEXANDER NEMENOV        (Photo credit should read ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP/Getty Images)
Russia's President Vladimir Putin (R) greets his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping during a document signing ceremony in Moscow, on March 22, 2013. Xi Jinping arrived today in Moscow on his first foreign trip, to cement ties between the two countries by inking a raft of energy and investment accords. AFP PHOTO/ ALEXANDER NEMENOV (Photo credit should read ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP/Getty Images)

Visiting dignitaries from Russia and China may face crowds of rowdy demonstrators at the G-20 summit that begins on Thursday in Hamburg, leading the two powers to make a show of solidarity with each other before the summit begins.

Chinese President Xi Jinping is currently visiting Russian President Vladimir Putin for a state visit, his third to Russia this year. The two leaders have already demonstrated their joint resolve by denouncing the deployment of a U.S. missile defense system to South Korea.

“Beijing and Moscow are steadfastly opposed to the THAAD deployment and seriously suggest that relevant countries stop and cancel the installation,” said Xi shortly before his arrival in Moscow, according to Chinese state news agency Xinhua.

The United States and South Korea maintain that the THAAD system is only intended to counter the threat of North Korean nukes, but China holds that the radar capabilities extend far into Chinese territory and thus pose a grave security risk. Russia has expressed support for Beijing’s position several times over the past year.

The relationship between Beijing and Moscow has deepened in recent years as Russia has sought to reduce its economic dependence on Europe, while China has sought support for its interests abroad under a more assertive Xi.

During the visit, Putin is expected to give Xi the Order of St. Andrew, the Russia’s highest order, for “his distinguished service to the peoples of China and Russia,” according to the TASS news agency. And Russian foreign affairs advisor Yuri Ushakov characterized the state of relations between the two countries as “the best in history.”

Russia is also China’s favorite foreign policy exception. China vocally opposed U.S. bombing campaigns in the Middle East — but Russia’s campaigns in Syria were hugely popular in China.

The official state visit doesn’t start until Tuesday, so expect more joint statements and news of trade deals worth up to $10 billion over the next two days.

ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP/Getty Images

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian is a contributing writer at Foreign Policy. @BethanyAllenEbr

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