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Putin thanks Xi for China's initiatives on Ukraine

Update : 16 May 2024, 19:59

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday told his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, that Russia was advancing "on all fronts" in Ukraine. 

Still, Putin said he was "grateful" to China for trying to find a solution to the war in Ukraine. 

"We are grateful to our Chinese friends and colleagues for the initiatives they are putting forward to resolve this problem," Putin said, speaking along side Xi.  

The EU and the US had recently called on Xi to use his influence to pressure Putin to end the war in Ukraine.

The Russian president made the remarks during a two-day state visit to China, his first trip abroad since the latest elections in Russia.

Putin was welcomed by Chinese officials as well as a military honor guard when he touched down, before he was greeted by Xi at a grand welcoming ceremony outside central Beijing's Great Hall of the People. 

Putin, Xi praise China-Russia ties

Both Russian and Chinese state media covered the arrival, carrying remarks by two leaders in which they hailed their relations.

"Relations between Russia and China are not opportunistic and not directed against anyone," Putin said, adding: "Our cooperation in international matters is one of the stabilizing factors in the international arena."

Xi then told Putin that "China-Russia relations [are] not only in the fundamental interests of the two countries... but also conducive to peace," according to a readout from Beijing's Foreign Ministry.

"China is ready to work with Russia to... uphold fairness and justice in the world," he added.

On the topic of security in the Asia-Pacific region, Putin called for building a security landscape that excludes "closed military-political alliances," which he described as "very harmful" and "counterproductive." 

Focus on 'strategic cooperation'

A joint statement issued after the meeting between Xi and Putin focused on "deepening comprehensive partnership and strategic cooperation entering a new era."

Russia and China "are determined to defend their legitimate rights and interests, resist any attempts to hinder the normal development of bilateral ties, interfere in the internal affairs of the two states, and limit the economic, technological or foreign policy potential of Russia and China," it said.

In a statement, both sides expressed concern over what they called US efforts to violate the strategic nuclear balance, global US missile defenses that threaten Russia and China, and U.S plans for high-precision non-nuclear weapons.

They also stressed the need to stop all steps that prolong the fighting and further escalate the Ukrainian conflict. The sides emphasized that dialogue is a good way to resolve it.

The statement also said that China and Russia will work together to ensure the economic security and energy security of the two countries.

The two sides will deepen cooperation in areas such as renewable energy, hydrogen energy and carbon markets, and work together on large-scale energy projects by enterprises from both countries, it said. 

Moscow and Beijing's 'no limits' relationship

In 2022, Beijing and Moscow described their relationship as having "no limits" just before Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

Beijing has benefitted from supporting Moscow by receiving cheap gas and oil. Still, China has increasingly come under pressure from Western nations with its banks facing the threat of US sanctions that could interrupt Chinese access to international financial markets. 

Prior to the trip, the Kremlin said Putin and Xi would "define key areas of development in Russian-Chinese cooperation, and exchange views on international and regional issues" during discussions on the "comprehensive partnership and strategic cooperation" between their nations.

Ahead of Putin's trip, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov summed up the partnership between the two authoritarian nations, saying that Moscow and Beijing were "objectively interested in maintaining our lead in efforts to establish a more fair and democratic world order."

Both leaders recently changed their respective nations' constitutions to maintain power for life and are accused of using their nations' military heft to intimidate their neighbors. 

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