Xi, Putin hail ties as ‘stabilising’ force in chaotic world

Friday, May 17, 2024

BEIJING: Leaders Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin framed their nations’ ties as a stabilising force in a chaotic world as they met on Thursday in Beijing, where the Russian president is seeking greater Chinese support for his war effort in Ukraine.

It is Putin’s first trip abroad since his March re-election and the second in just over six months to China, an economic lifeline for Russia after the West hit it with unprecedented sanctions over its military offensive in Ukraine.

Putin was greeted by Xi at a grand welcoming ceremony outside Beijing’s Great Hall of the People, footage by state broadcaster CCTV showed.In a meeting, Xi then told his “old friend” Putin that China-Russia relations were “conducive to peace”.

“China is ready to work with Russia to... uphold fairness and justice in the world,” Xi added.Putin, in turn, told Xi the two countries’ relations were “stabilising factors in the international arena”.

“Relations between Russia and China are not opportunistic and not directed against anyone,” Putin said, according to a Kremlin readout.“Together, we uphold the principles of justice and a democratic world order that reflects multipolar realities and is based on international law,” he added.

Following closed-door meetings, the two leaders then signed a joint statement on deepening their countries’ “comprehensive strategic partnership”, state news agency Xinhua said. The Russian leader’s arrival came hours after he hailed his country’s troops for advancing on “all fronts” on the battlefield in Ukraine, following a major new ground assault.

And the Kremlin said Russia and China had agreed to oppose “further escalation” of the conflict in Ukraine on Thursday.“The parties note the need to stop any steps that contribute to the prolongation of hostilities,” the Kremlin’s readout of their joint statement said.

China has dismissed claims it is aiding Russia’s war in Ukraine and insisted that the West is exacerbating the conflict by sending arms to Ukraine.Xi has also rebuffed Western criticism of his country’s close ties with Moscow.

China claims to be a neutral party in the Ukraine conflict, which it has never condemned and in which it has sought to frame itself as a mediator.And in a statement to media following talks with Putin, Xi said the two sides agreed on the need for a “political solution” to resolving the war.

“China’s position on this issue has always been clear,” Xi said in footage broadcast by Russian TV.That position included “respecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries” as well as “respecting the reasonable security concerns of all sides”, the Chinese leader added.

The remarks echo a paper issued by Beijing last year, which Western countries said could enable Russia to hold much of the territory it has seized in Ukraine.China also “looks forward to the early restoration of peace and stability on the European continent”, Xi said, promising Beijing would “continue to play a constructive role to that end”.

Putin in response said he was “grateful” to Beijing for its efforts to help resolve the conflict. He also referenced Beijing’s complaints about growing security cooperation between the United States and its allies in Asia, warning of “harmful” military alliances in the region.On Thursday afternoon, the Russian leader met Premier Li Qiang—China’s number two official—who said Beijing was willing to “continue to deepen cooperation in various fields”.Putin and Xi then attended a ceremony celebrating 75 years of diplomatic relations between Moscow and Beijing, Xinhua said.