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FirstFT: Putin admits there’s a split between Moscow and Beijing

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Good morning. Russian president Vladimir Putin has acknowledged Chinese “concerns” about the war in Ukraine in the first public admission of differences between Beijing and Moscow over the conflict.

Putin’s comments came in a meeting with China’s president Xi Jinping in Uzbekistan on Thursday, the first time the two had met in person since the Kremlin launched its all-out invasion of Ukraine in February.

“We highly value the balanced position of our Chinese friends when it comes to the Ukraine crisis,” Putin told Xi, according to a Kremlin transcript.

“We understand your questions and concerns about this. During today’s meeting, we will of course explain our position, though we have also spoken about this before.”

Putin arrived in Uzbekistan as Russian forces in the north-east of Ukraine have been forced into retreat by a Kyiv counter-offensive that has recaptured important territory, boosted Ukrainian morale and raised questions about whether Moscow can sustain its offensive.

Russia has frequently rebuffed claims that it is becoming globally isolated by pointing to increasingly close economic and political ties with China and other non-western nations.

  • Related read: The US and EU are stepping up pressure on Turkey to crack down on Russian sanctions evasion amid concerns that the country’s banking sector is a potential backdoor for illicit finance.

Where do you think Russia-China relations will go from here? Tell me what you think at Thanks for reading FirstFT Asia and have a great weekend. — Emily

1. White House sounds alert on inbound Chinese investment President Joe Biden has issued an executive order aimed at boosting scrutiny of deals involving foreign companies in high-tech industries such as semiconductors, as part of a continuing effort to address security threats from China.

2. South Korea considers plan to stabilise the won South Korea said it was reviewing “contingency plans” to tackle foreign exchange volatility, with the Korean won hovering at a 13-year low against the US dollar as currencies across Asia come under pressure from an increasingly hawkish Federal Reserve.

3. China’s state banks cut deposit rates for first time since 2015 State lenders including Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, Bank of China, Bank of Communications and Agricultural Bank of China cut interest rates for three-year deposits by 0.15 percentage points yesterday, as Beijing seeks to boost flagging growth in the world’s second-largest economy without risking runaway depreciation of the renminbi.

4. Key moment for crypto market Ethereum, the world’s second-biggest blockchain, has completed a long-awaited upgrade to its system in a move expected to slash its energy costs and intended to prepare the ground for more use of crypto technology in mainstream finance. Vitalik Buterin, Ethereum co-founder, said the upgrade, known in the industry as “The Merge”, had been completed earlier today.

5. US Senate panel approves $6.5bn bill to fund weapons for Taiwan The Taiwan Policy Act was passed by a margin of 17-5 by the US Senate foreign relations committee. The bill, which still requires approval by the full Senate and the House, marks the first time the US would directly finance the provision of weapons to Taiwan.

How well did you keep up with the news this week? Take our quiz.

The day ahead

China retail sales and industrial production figures When August data is released today, economists expect retail sales to continue their downbeat trend following July’s underwhelming report. (Focus Economics, FT)

Top Chinese lawmaker meets South Korean president China’s National People’s Congress Standing Committee Chair Li Zhanshu is expected to meet South Korean president Yoon Suk-yeol today.

Malaysia Day Financial markets will be closed today to mark the establishment of the Malaysian federation.

Skandal! premiere The Netflix documentary charting the incredible story of how the Financial Times’ Dan McCrum took down Germany’s huge and fraudulent payment processor Wirecard, will be released globally today.

Dan McCrum
Dan McCrum, right, spent seven years investigating the fraudulent payment processor Wirecard, a tale that is still playing out as executives await trial © Courtesy of Netflix

Join board members and C-suite executives in person or online for the Cyber Resilience Summit on September 21-23 to hear remarks from speakers including Bill Clinton. Register for your pass today.

What else we’re reading

Xi plan for economic independence Under Xi Jinping — who appears all but certain to secure another term in power next month — China is seeking to become a state-led and self-sufficient techno-superpower that will no longer rely so much on the west. But how realistic is goal in a connected world?

Stacked column chart showing the global market share for semiconductor  manufacturing by country in 2020 as a percentage of the total

Citi opens Málaga hub for junior bankers Málaga is better known for its sunshine and food than banking. But yesterday 27 young recruits started at Citi’s new hub for junior investment bankers. Rivals have dismissed it as a gimmick but the US bank claims it is a way of offering a “better work-life balance” for its new starters. Will it work?

Defiance in the rabbit warren of Kyiv’s presidential palace Last week, Gillian Tett took a trip down the darkened corridors of the Ukrainian presidential palace, where despite fighting off a brutal Russian invasion for seven months, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and his team are intent on delivering the message of business as usual.

How to reboot men for the age of gender equality At the top and the bottom of society, new definitions of masculinity can help all to thrive, writes Simon Kuper. These three recent books trace the outlines of a new masculinism.

Scenes from the end of an Elizabethan ageThe state funeral for the Queen on Monday will be a solemn ceremony but in the meantime the public waits to see the body lying in state and pay their respects at Buckingham Palace. Imogen West-Knights joined mourners, lost-looking tour groups and history rubberneckers outside the royal residence.

Hundreds of thousands of people are travelling to London to mourn the Queen © Benjamin McMahon


Cafés packed closely along a picturesque single-line train track in Hanoi have reopened after a long Covid shutdown, feeding hopes that the area will again lure visitors to what was once a tourist hotspot.

Disrupted Times — Documenting the changes in business and the economy between Covid and conflict. Sign up here

Asset ManagementSign up here for the inside story of the movers and shakers behind a multitrillion-dollar industry

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