During a virtual summit between the two leaders Wednesday, Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin’s insistence that NATO guarantee it will not expand to Ukraine or place troops and weapons in the country.
Putin and Xi held the sit-down amid heightened tensions between Moscow and Washington over the buildup of thousands of Russian troops on its Ukraine frontier.
According to Putin foreign affairs adviser Yuri Ushakov, the Russian and Chinese leaders discussed “mounting threats to Russia’s national interests from the US and the NATO block, which consistently move their military infrastructure close to the Russian borders.”
Putin told Xi of the need to engage in negotiations with NATO and the US over security guarantees, Ushakov added.
Xi responded that he “understands Russia’s concerns and fully supports our initiative to work out these security guarantees for Russia,” the adviser went on.
China’s state-run Xinhua news agency reported that Xi emphasized the need for Moscow and Beijing to ”safeguard” their security interests.
“At present, certain international forces under the guise of ‘democracy’ and ‘human rights’ are interfering in the internal affairs of China and Russia, and brutally trampling on international law and recognized norms of international relations,” Xinhua quoted Xi as saying.
The two leaders appear to have forged a relationship after the US sanctioned China over its crackdown on the Uyghur Muslim population and Russia over its illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014.
”A new model of cooperation has been formed between our countries, based, among other things, on such principles as non-interference in internal affairs and respect for each other’s interests,” Putin told Xi.
The Kremlin has repeatedly denied it has plans for military action against Ukraine after US officials warned allies that an invasion could take place as soon as early next year.
Putin also said he plans to meet with Xi in person in Beijing in February and to attend next year’s Winter Olympics.
The US, Canada, Australia and Britain have said they will not be sending dignitaries to the Winter Olympics as part of a diplomatic boycott to protest China’s human rights record. Other countries have said they won’t be sending officials because of pandemic travel restrictions.
With Post wires