Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday that conflicts and threats in the world "reinforce" his country's relationship with China, on the occasion of a trip to Beijing.
“Regarding the impact of external factors and conflicts on the development of Russian-Chinese relations, all these external factors are common threats that strengthen cooperation between Russia and China,” he said.
Vladimir Putin said he was “optimistically considering” the “prospects” of cooperation with his Chinese ally, an essential partner for Moscow at a time when international sanctions are weighing on the Russian economy.
The Russian leader spoke at a press conference, a few hours after a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, who praised the “growing” trust between Beijing and Moscow.
“Political trust “mutual cooperation between the two countries is constantly growing,” he told his ally, according to the official Xinhua news agency, at a time when the two men are displaying their unity against the West.
The leader called on the two countries to “safeguard international equity” and “justice”, according to the same source, highlighting their “close and effective strategic coordination”.
Mr. Xi recalled meeting Putin 42 times over the past decade and “developed a good working relationship and deep friendship” with his counterpart.
The two men met at the People's Palace , on the sidelines of the New Silk Roads forum in Beijing, which comes as the world turns its eyes to the Israel-Hamas war.
– “Confrontation of the blocs” –
< p>Heavily sanctioned by the West because of its offensive against Ukraine, Russia is seeking to strengthen its already close ties with China, which seems to have gained the upper hand in their bilateral relations.
Vladimir Putin is the distinguished guest at the forum attended by representatives from some 130 countries, mainly from the South.
It is his first trip to a major world power since the invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, which isolated Russia on the international scene.
Chinese President Xi Jinping at the opening of the New Silk Roads forum, in Beijing on October 18, 2023 © AFP – Pedro PARDO
At the opening of the forum, Xi Jinping denounced “block confrontation”. “We oppose unilateral sanctions, economic coercion, decoupling and the reduction of economic ties,” he declared.
In a context of tensions with Beijing, certain political leaders in Europe and the United States advocate “decoupling” with China, that is to say cutting all economic ties with the Asian giant, or at least limiting their dependence.
Beijing will not not engage in “ideological confrontation, geopolitical games or bloc confrontation”, assured Xi Jinping.
– “Equitable cooperation” –
Moscow and Beijing “share the desire for fair cooperation in the world”, declared Vladimir Putin in a speech, hailing the “success” of the New Silk Roads.
Former French Prime Minister Jean -Pierre Raffarin, present at the forum as special envoy of President Emmanuel Macron, left the room shortly before the start of Mr. Putin's speech, according to journalists on site.
During his subsequent meeting with his “dear friend” Xi Jinping, the Russian president stressed the importance of “close coordination on foreign policy” in “the current difficult conditions”, according to a Kremlin report. /p>
China is Russia's largest trading partner, with trade at a record $190 billion last year. Xi recalled on Wednesday the target of 200 billion set by the two countries this year.
He also defended the New Silk Roads, a vast infrastructure project carried out by Beijing in around a hundred countries, affirming that they will “bring new impetus to the world economy”.
– The shadow of war –
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres in Beijing on October 18, 2023 © AFP – Pedro PARDO
This forum in Beijing takes place in full war between Israel and Hamas.
Vladimir Putin on Wednesday described as a “tragedy” the strike which killed hundreds of people the day before in a hospital in Gaza, while China said ” shocked” and “vigorously” condemned the shooting.
Present in Beijing, the Secretary General of the UN, Antonio Guterres, estimated on Wednesday that the Hamas attack against Israel could not “justify the punishment collective of the Palestinians” of Gaza.
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