Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping united against the US and its allies Friday, hyping their “unshakable” relationship as they called for NATO to halt any expansion.
The two leaders met in Beijing ahead of the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympic Games, as both their countries face mounting criticism from Washington and Russia amasses troops along its border with Ukraine.
In a joint statement, the pair highlighted what they call “interference in the internal affairs” of other states.
“Some forces representing a minority on the world stage continue to advocate unilateral approaches to resolving international problems and resort to military policy,” it read, in a thinly veiled reference to Washington and its allies.
Moscow and Beijing “believe that certain States, military and political alliances and coalitions seek to obtain, directly or indirectly, unilateral military advantages to the detriment of the security of others,” according to an English-language translation of the statement released by the Kremlin, CNN reported.
Russia and China also “oppose further enlargement of NATO and call on the North Atlantic Alliance to abandon its ideologized cold war approaches, to respect the sovereignty, security and interests of other countries, the diversity of their civilizational, cultural and historical backgrounds, and to exercise a fair and objective attitude towards the peaceful development of other States,” it added.
Xi also said Chinese-Russian strategic cooperation was “unshakable, past, present and future.”
Talks between the two leaders come as Moscow is in a diplomatic stand-off with the US over Ukraine, demanding that NATO curb its eastward expansion.
Russia said it wants NATO to guarantee that it will not admit new members, particularly Ukraine, and that Washington will not establish new military bases in former Soviet countries.
Putin’s presence in China makes him the highest-profile guest at the Beijing Games following the decision by the US, Britain and others not to send officials in protest of the country’s human rights abuses.
Relations “are developing in a progressive way with a spirit of friendship and strategic partnership,” Putin said of China.
“They have indeed become unprecedented. It’s an example of dignified relations that support mutual development.”
The strongman highlighted close economic ties, including a new contract to supply China with 10 billion cubic meters of gas per year from eastern Russia.
“For our meeting today, our oilmen have prepared very good new solutions for the supply of hydrocarbons to the People’s Republic of China, and another step forward has been taken in the gas industry,” he said.
China’s state-run news agency reported that the two men met at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse on Friday, but provided no details. They did not appear to shake hands when greeting each other due to COVID-19 restrictions.
A buildup of more than 100,000 Russian troops near Ukraine has fueled Western fears that Russia will invade its neighbor.
Moscow has denied planning an invasion but urged the US and its allies to pledge that NATO won’t expand to Ukraine and other ex-Soviet nations or deploy weapons there, and roll back its forces from Eastern Europe — demands firmly rejected by the West.
With Post wires