March 3, 2024

Kremlin said the two spoke about creating a ‘multipolar, fairer world order’ in face of US-led efforts to contain their countries.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping have rejected what they call US interference in the affairs of other countries, the Kremlin has said.

During an hour-long phone call on Thursday, Xi and Putin denounced the “US policy of interfering in the internal affairs of other states”, Kremlin aide Yuri Ushakov told journalists.

The two leaders spoke about creating a “multipolar, fairer world order” in the face of US-led efforts to contain both of Washington’s biggest adversaries, he said.

“The leaders of the two countries realise that the US is practically implementing a policy of double containment, [toward] both Russia and China,” he added.

The West has viewed Moscow and Beijing, both of whom are seeking to expand their global influence, with increased anxiety over the past two years as they ramp up ties in trade and defence.

Moscow has looked to Beijing as a crucial economic lifeline since the West hit Russia with unprecedented sanctions over its military assault on Ukraine.

China has, meanwhile, benefitted from cheap Russian energy imports and access to vast natural resources, including steady gas shipments via the Power of Siberia pipeline.

Trade between the two countries has surged in the last two years, hitting $218.2bn during January-November, according to Chinese customs data, achieving a goal set by the two countries in 2019 a year ahead of schedule.

Moscow and Beijing have also increasingly carried out trade in roubles and yuan as they move to phase out trade in US dollars. Putin and Xi stressed on their call that it was important to build a “financial infrastructure that ensures reliability of payments”, Ushakov said.

Ukraine and Taiwan

Putin and Xi also discussed the situation in Ukraine and conflict resolution in the Middle East and see eye to eye on those conflicts, Ushakov said, without elaborating.

Beijing and Moscow declared a “no limits” partnership days before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, and the two have expanded ties even as most Western countries turned their back on Moscow.

China has itself been criticised, notably by the US, over a number of thorny issues, including its behaviour towards self-ruled democratic Taiwan, which Beijing claims as its territory.

“In discussing the situation in the Asia-Pacific region, the Russian President reaffirmed his principled position on the Taiwan issue, which is to support the ‘one China’ policy,” the Kremlin said in its statement about the call.

Xi told Putin the two “should closely collaborate strategically, defend the sovereignty, security and development interests of their respective countries”, according to a readout from Chinese state broadcaster CCTV.

Xi also emphasised that both sides should “resolutely oppose interference in internal affairs by external forces”, CCTV said.

Putin and Xi met twice last year. Ushakov said the two leaders would continue to have “close personal interaction” but there were no plans for reciprocal visits right now.

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