Russia President Vladimir Putin championed the close ties between Russia and China during a virtual summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping Wednesday.
In his opening remarks, Putin said Russia-China relations are a “shining example of interstate cooperation in the 21st century.”
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Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks with Chinese President Xi Jinping via videoconference in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2021. (Mikhail Metzel, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)
Putin said his relationship with Xi was a success in part because of their shared “principles of non-interference in each other’s affairs.”
Xi echoed Putin’s comments and said he appreciated that the Kremlin “firmly supported China in upholding core interests, and rejected attempts to sow discord between Russia and China.”
In a direct reference to the U.S., Xi pointed out that “certain forces in the world are trying to meddle in the internal affairs of China and Russia under the pretext of ‘democracy’ and ‘human rights’,” a readout from the call said.
“Efforts must be made to firmly reject hegemonic acts and the Cold War mentality under the disguise of ‘multilateralism’ and ‘rules’,” the readout added.
Russian President Vladimir Putin gestures during his videoconference with Chinese President Xi Jinping, right on the screen, in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2021. (Mikhail Metzel, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)
Russia and China have bolstered their relationship over the last several years in response to increasingly strained ties with the U.S.
Geopolitical tensions between the U.S. and Russia have heightened in recent months as the Kremlin continues to build up its military along the Ukrainian border in a move Western nations warn threatens Ukraine’s sovereignty.
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The U.S. and its NATO allies have promised to impose harsh economic punishments should Russia invade Ukraine, but it remains unclear how Putin intends to proceed.
Similarly, in the Pacific, China has repeatedly said it intends to “reunify” Taiwan with mainland China in a move the U.S. has argued undermines regional security.
It remains less clear what the U.S.’s move in the Taiwan Strait would look like if China did attempt to take the island back by force. But the U.S. has bolstered its defense capabilities in the region and urged China not to undermine Taiwan’s peace.
In this photo released by China’s Xinhua News Agency, Chinese President Xi Jinping gestures during a virtual meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Beijing, Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2021. (Huang Jingwen/Xinhua via AP))
While the U.S. remains wary of regional conflicts by their top adversaries, China and Russia remain united in bolstering their shared economic interests.
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“We are strengthening our trade and economic ties: from January to November this year, our mutual trade has increased by 31% to US$123 billion,” Putin said. “We are implementing a number of large-scale joint projects in energy, including nuclear generation, industry and high technology.”
The U.S. continues to put pressure on Russia and China through the use of sanctions.