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Why China can't and won't abandon Russia

Common strategic goals, geographic proximity bind the two nations

Presidents Joe Biden, Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin. It may not be easy for Beijing to distance itself from Russia's war on Ukraine. (Nikkei montage/AP/Reuters)

TOKYO -- While Russia continues its outrageous acts against Ukraine by annexing four eastern and southern Ukrainian regions, speculation abounds that its most powerful ally, China, is seeking to distance itself from Moscow.

Many pundits who hold this view cite a comment made by Russian President Vladimir Putin at a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Uzbekistan on Sept. 15. At the outset of the talks, Putin said he understood that China has "questions and concerns" about Russia's actions in Ukraine, indicating Beijing had expressed uneasiness about the situation there.

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