Xi, Putin joint statement reveals new stand on Indo-Pacific, plan for G20 meet

Mar 22, 2023 01:14 PM IST

The joint statement issued after the meeting between China’s Xi Jinping and Russia’s Vladimir Putin said the Indo-Pacific strategy ‘has a negative impact on peace and stability’ and pitched for what they called, open and inclusive Asia-Pacific security system’

NEW DELHI: A joint statement issued following a meeting of Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping indicates the two countries will jointly oppose the raising of the Ukraine crisis at the G20, just as they have done at two key ministerial meetings hosted by India.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping toast during their dinner at The Palace of the Facets, a building in the Moscow Kremlin, Russia, on Tuesday (AP)
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping toast during their dinner at The Palace of the Facets, a building in the Moscow Kremlin, Russia, on Tuesday (AP)

The joint statement, issued following the meeting between the two leaders at the Kremlin in Moscow, strongly opposed the Indo-Pacific strategy, saying it has a negative impact on peace and stability, and committed the two countries to building an “open and inclusive Asia-Pacific security system”.

This is perhaps the first time China and Russia have come together to oppose the Indo-Pacific concept, though Russian officials have often described the strategy as an effort by the West to create a divide between Moscow and New Delhi.

The development comes at a time when China and Russia have worked jointly to stymie efforts, largely by G7 member states, to include text condemning the Russian aggression in Ukraine during the G20 finance and foreign ministers’ meetings hosted by India recently.

Without naming the G20, the joint statement states that the two sides will oppose the use of multilateral platforms to take up “irrelevant issues”. Both Russia and China have said that the G20 shouldn’t be the platform to take up the Ukraine war as it was created to focus on economic issues.

“Both sides firmly condemn the politicisation of multilateral platforms and the attempts of certain countries to insert irrelevant issues on the agenda of multilateral platforms and dilute the primary tasks of the relevant mechanisms,” according to the joint statement in Mandarin posted on the Chinese foreign ministry’s website.

The Indian side has named China and Russia as the countries that opposed the inclusion of text denouncing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine – which was agreed at the last G20 Summit in Indonesia – in the draft communiques at the meeting of G20 finance ministers in Bengaluru in February and the G20 foreign ministers meeting in New Delhi earlier this month.

In the context of the Indo-Pacific strategy – which is backed by Australia, India, Japan and the US, all members of the Quad – the China-Russia joint statement described it as “closed and exclusive group structure”. The statement contended NATO’s was strengthening “military security ties” with Asia-Pacific countries and undermining regional peace and stability.

“The two sides oppose patching together a closed and exclusive group structure in the Asia-Pacific region, creating group politics and camp confrontation. The two sides pointed out that the US adheres to the Cold War mentality and pursues the ‘Indo-Pacific Strategy’, which has a negative impact on peace and stability in the region,” the joint statement said.

China and Russia said they are “committed to building an equal, open, and inclusive Asia-Pacific security system that does not target third countries” in order to maintain regional peace, stability and prosperity.

This is the first time the two countries have publicly spoken of creating an alternative to the Indo-Pacific concept.

India, which has seen its relations with China plummet to their lowest point in six decades because of a dragging military standoff with China on the Line of Actual Control (LAC), has watched with wariness the growing strategic and security relationship between Moscow and Beijing, especially after the start of the Ukraine war.

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