China will keep backing Russia on ‘sovereignty, security’, Xi tells Putin
The interaction between the two leaders came in the backdrop of the deteriorating situation in Ukraine and the impact the conflict was having globally
All parties involved in the Ukraine crisis should settle it responsibly, Chinese President Xi Jinping told his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin during a phone conversation on Wednesday but added that Moscow has Beijing’s full support on its core interests like “sovereignty and security”.
China is “willing to continue to offer mutual support (to Russia) on issues concerning core interests and major concerns such as sovereignty and security,” Chinese official news agency Xinhua said in a statement released on Wednesday evening on the afternoon talks between the two leaders.
On Ukraine, Xi said “all parties should push for a proper settlement of the Ukraine crisis in a responsible manner”, adding that China for this purpose will continue to play its due role.
The interaction came in the backdrop of the deteriorating situation in Ukraine and the impact the conflict was having globally.
The last publicised call between the two leaders took place on February 25, a day after Moscow invaded Kyiv where the Chinese President had said Beijing was keen to see Russia-Ukraine peace talks at the earliest.
China has refused to condemn Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, has declined to call it an invastion, and has provided diplomatic cover for Russia by strongly criticising Western sanctions and arms sales to Kyiv.
Beijing and Moscow have grown increasingly close in recent years.
In February, Putin and Xi signed a wide-ranging strategic partnership aimed at countering US influence and said they would have “no ‘forbidden’ areas of cooperation”.
Besides supporting each other on core interests, Xi said China is willing to work with Russia “on their major concerns, deepening their strategic coordination, and strengthening communication and coordination in such important international and regional organisations as the United Nations, the Brics mechanism and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation”.
Both Xi and Putin will address the online summit of the five-member Brics bloc comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa next week.
According to the Xinhua statement, Xi praised the “good momentum of development” in bilateral relations since the start of the year “in the face of global turmoil and changes”.
The US and European Union have warned that any backing from Beijing for Russia’s war in Ukraine or any help for Moscow to dodge Western sanctions, would damage their ties with China.
On Friday, Russia and China opened a new cross-border bridge in the far east which they hope will further boost trade as Moscow reels from sweeping Western sanctions imposed over its actions in Ukraine.
Putin noted that Russia is ready to strengthen multilateral coordination with China so as to make constructive efforts in boosting multipolarisation of the world, and establishing a more just and reasonable international order.