Putin and Xi discuss closer cooperation amid deteriorating relations with the West

Russian President Vladimir Putin sought to show a united front with Xi Jinping as the Kremlin said the Chinese leader supported Moscow’s demand for security guarantees to limit Western influence in the region. their backyard.

In remarks aired by Russian state television at the beginning of their 90-minute video call on Wednesday, Putin told Mr. Xi’s “dear friend” that “a new model of cooperation between our countries has been established”. formed based on principles such as non-interference in internal affairs and respect for each other’s interests”.

According to Xinhua news agency, Mr. Xi, who called Putin an “old friend”, told him that he “appreciated” China’s “strong support for efforts to protect important international interests”. important to China,” according to Xinhua news agency.

Some international forces are interfering in the internal affairs of China and Russia, and trampling on international law and recognized norms of international relations, Xi added. “China and Russia should take more joint actions to protect the security interests of both sides.”

After Putin briefly told Xi about his recent demands to redraw Europe’s security order during a phone call with US President Joe Biden last week, the Chinese leader “emphasized strong that he supports Russia’s demands for such guarantees [and] According to Interfax, Putin’s foreign policy aide Yuri Ushakov told reporters about Russia’s concerns over western borders.

Russia has sought to portray Putin and Xi’s call, their 37th meeting since 2013, as support at a time when both countries’ relations with the West are deteriorating. lows not seen since the post-Cold War more than three decades ago.

Moscow and Beijing are not official allies but have drawn closer together since 2014, when Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine and fueled a burgeoning separatist war in the eastern Donbas border region. .

Putin has reached a major gas supply deal with China, underscoring Beijing’s support for Russia in the face of US and EU sanctions on Ukraine.

After Russia deployed about 100,000 troops on the border with Ukraine this fall, the US and EU fear Moscow may be planning to restart the conflict and threaten to cripple sanctions in response. pay.

Putin said the US warnings of an invasion were “alarming” and accused Nato of increasing tensions by supplying the Ukrainian army with advanced weapons while conducting exercises near the border. Russian world.

After talks with Biden, Putin reiterated Russia’s request in phone calls this week with Western leaders, including British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and French President Emmanuel Macron.

Meanwhile, Beijing and Washington have clashed repeatedly in recent weeks over the Xi regime’s alleged human rights abuses in Xinjiang and Hong Kong, moves by the US to unit Access to Investment Capital and Technology by Chinese Companies and Joe Biden’s “Summit for Democracy” to exclude, to expel China and Russia.

The Biden administration has also announced a “diplomatic boycott” of the Winter Olympics in Beijing in February – which Mr. Putin said outright that he would attend, marking the first direct contact with Mr. Xi. since the beginning of the pandemic.

Alexander Gabuev, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Moscow Center, said: “Amid growing confrontation with the West, it is important for Vladimir Putin to demonstrate a partnership with China. is getting deeper and deeper. “This visit will be another milestone in shaft training.”

Ushakov said both Putin and Xi condemned the democracy summit hosted by Biden earlier this month and said they were “anxious” about new alliances aimed at countering Chinese influence such as a security pact. Aukus of the US, UK and Australia.

Lu Xiang, an international relations expert at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, said that Xi and Putin needed to “coordinate policy in a complex international environment”.

“The US is trying to unite other countries by creating fear about China,” Lu said. “That is going back to the cold war mentality of the 21st century.”

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