As a Rabobank note has highlighted, the main theme on display during Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin's Wednesday talks in Beijing was one of "common threats" bringing the two "dear friends" closer, according to a press readout. Observed Rabobank earlier in the day, "Meanwhile, as the Middle East rages and the West recoils, Xi Jinping welcomes Russia’s Putin and a host of Global South leaders, ex-India, to his Beijing Belt and Road Forum to talk about what an alternative world order might look like. The ‘global’ Western press mostly failed to even cover it."
Putin said at a media briefing following the meeting with his Chinese counterpart, "We discussed in detail the situation in the Middle East." He added: "I informed Chairman (Xi) about the situation that is developing on the Ukrainian track, also quite in detail." The Russian leader then emphasized:
"All these external factors are common threats, and they strengthen Russian-Chinese interaction."
CNN subsequently called it a "pitch for a new world order" at a moment crisis has gripped the Middle East.
Yet, almost simultaneously, Bloomberg reported that Biden is overseeing a fast unfolding disaster in the Middle East:
President Joe Biden’s 7.5-hour trip to Tel Aviv signaled full US backing for Israel but fell short on another key goal: winning over Arab leaders.
Amid growing signs the conflict may be spinning out of control, Biden made plain that the US will protect its ally, sending a clear message to rivals in the region like Iran to stay out of the fight. With one US aircraft carrier in the area and another on the way, Biden promised a new package of “unprecedented support.”
The Bloomberg headline aptly reads, "Biden’s Whirlwind Israel Trip Fails to Calm Fears of Wider Middle East Conflict." At this time, Lebanon, Jordan, and Egypt are on edge - with Western and Saudi embassies reducing staff and issuing travel advisories.
Meanwhile, related to Xi's Belt and Road (the purpose of the gathering in Beijing), Putin praised the potential for it to usher in a "fairer, multi-polar world" as Moscow and Beijing grow closer based on "deep friendship":
In his speech at the opening ceremony, Putin hailed Xi’s flagship foreign policy Belt and Road Initiative as “aiming to form a fairer, multi-polar world,” while touting his country’s deep alignment with China.
Russia and China share an “aspiration for equal and mutually beneficial cooperation,” which includes “respecting civilization diversity and the right of every state for their own development model” – he added, in an apparent push back against calls for authoritarian leaders to promote human rights and political freedoms at home.
Rather ominously, state media showed footage of Putin followed by officials carrying the Russian nuclear football around Beijing today.— max seddon (@maxseddon) October 18, 2023
"There are certain suitcases without which no trip of Putin's is complete," Ria Novosti said https://t.co/B22AJQzRZ5 pic.twitter.com/IOX43drDFh
This is at a moment Putin is "wanted" by the International Criminal Court (ICC) and shunned and sanctioned by the West, while at the same time Global South countries are expressing growing anger at Israel's unrelenting bombing of the Gaza Strip, as the Palestinian death toll soars into the thousands.
Directly related to this, a Thursday UN Security Council resolution brought by Brazil and seeking a ceasefire in Gaza was shot down, given the US was the only "no" vote.
Also missed by the mainstream media was the following pro-China sentiment expressed by a top Palestinian official over a week ago:
China will soon lead the world, and it supports the “Palestinian position, whatever it may be,” according to Fatah’s Central Committee member Abbas Zaki.
In a public address that aired on Palestine TV on Sept. 29, Abbas Zaki called on the United States to “reconsider its stance” with regard to Israel or risk becoming irrelevant. The Israelis, he said, were “sons of bitches,” “murderers” and agents of instability, while the Palestinians are “messengers of peace.”
“I know that there is serious change in Europe and even in the United States,” said Zaki.
But, he added, “do not forget the emerging camp, which is on your side—the Chinese camp. China is going to lead the world, and it proclaims: ‘There can be no stability and progress without the liberation of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital.'”
While Putin is in China, Lavrov has arrived in North Korea.— Anton Gerashchenko (@Gerashchenko_en) October 18, 2023
Very telling visits and partnerships. pic.twitter.com/mT8l8DyD8Z
Putin too, has expressed more sympathies with the Palestinian side, days ago warning Israel of the "catastrophic" death toll its attacks on Gaza will result in. He has also held calls with Arab leaders, seeking to mediate peace and a possible two-state solution.