The leaders of Russia and China They met on Wednesday in Beijing and They called for close coordination in foreign policyas concerns grow about possible conflicts with the West over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and Beijing’s growing threats against Taiwan.
Referring to the increase in conflicts in the world, Putin said at a press conference that “All these external factors are common threats and reinforce Russian-Chinese cooperation”, adding that he was “optimistic” about the future of the relationship.
The meeting between the two took place at a time of geopolitical crisis fueled by the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians – a war in which both leaders have avoided condemning Hamas– or the Russian offensive in Ukraine, on which China has maintained an ambiguous position.
At the same time, Xi Jinping asked Putin for “joint efforts” to “safeguard international justice,” according to the state agency Xinhua.
The leader of the Chinese regime praised the state of relations between both countries and highlighted that “political trust is continually deepening,” with “close and effective strategic coordination and bilateral trade at historic highs.”
The meeting took place at the end of the inauguration of the Third Forum of the New Silk Roads in the Chinese capital, to which the Russian president has traveled despite the arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in its against the illegal deportation of Ukrainian children.
“We have met 42 times in the last ten years. We have developed a good working relationship and a deep friendship”, highlighted the Chinese president. “We have to continue enriching our bilateral cooperation, reflecting our responsibility as powers, and continue contributing to the modernization of our two countries,” he said.
In their morning meeting, Xi and Putin discussed trade and the 10th anniversary of Xi’s trademark Belt and Road Initiative, which has built highways, ports and power plants across Asia, the Middle East and elsewhere.
This policy has left many states deeply indebted to Chinese banks, and the attempt to inject new life into it comes at a time when the Chinese economy itself has slowed considerably due to huge overinvestment in the real estate sector.
“In the current difficult conditions, close coordination of foreign policy is especially necessary”Putin said in his opening speech.
“So, in terms of bilateral relations, we are moving forward with a lot of confidence,” he said, noting that bilateral trade was on track to surpass a record $200 billion this year.
China is a key customer for Russian oil and gas, providing Moscow with an economic lifeline in the face of harsh Western sanctions imposed over its campaign against Ukraine.
Just weeks before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last February, Putin met with Xi in Beijing and both sides signed an agreement pledging to maintain a “boundless” relationship. Beijing’s attempts to present itself as a neutral peace mediator in Russia’s war against Ukraine have been widely dismissed by the international community.
China, for its part, has increased military harassment of Taiwan, the island democracy it claims as its own to unite by force if necessary.
(With information from AP, AFP, EFE)