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Xi Jinping pledges Russia’s ‘firm support’ for China in ‘core interests’

Xi Jinping pledges Russia’s ‘firm support’ for China in ‘core interests’


Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin (right) and his Chinese counterpart Li Qiang during a welcoming ceremony in Beijing on May 24, 2023. afp_tickers

This content was published on May 24, 2023 – 11:49


China will support Russia’s “core interests”, Chinese President Xi Jinping said during a meeting in Beijing with Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin.

China and Russia have strengthened diplomatic and trade relations over the past decade, a trend that has accelerated since Russia launched its offensive against the former Soviet republic.

China has declared itself neutral in the conflict and called for respect for state sovereignty, but it has never publicly condemned the military operation ordered by Russian President Vladimir Putin, which began in February 2022.

Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin arrived in China on Monday and attended an economic forum in Shanghai on Tuesday before heading to the capital to meet his counterpart Li Qiang and President Xi Jinping.

He is the most senior Russian official to visit the Asian giant since the start of the invasion of Ukraine.

China is willing for the two countries to continue to “firmly support each other on issues affecting each other’s core interests”, President Xi Jinping told Mishustin, according to the official Xinhua news agency.

This kind of somewhat vague formulation is often used in the context of bilateral meetings with Russian representatives and other countries, and generally refers – as far as China is concerned – to the question of the island of Taiwan.

Xi Jinping also advocated “strengthening coordination in multilateral arenas such as the United Nations, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the BRICS or the G20”, according to Xinhua.

– “Unprecedented” –

For his part, Mishustin had underlined a little earlier, with Li Qiang, that “relations between Russia and China have reached an unprecedented level”.

“They are characterized by mutual respect for each other’s interests, the willingness to respond together to the challenges, linked to the increased turbulence on the international scene and the pressure of illegitimate sanctions from the West as a whole,” the Prime Minister said. Russian after a welcoming ceremony held in front of the monumental People’s Palace in Beijing.

China is Russia’s largest trading partner. Transactions between the two countries reached 190,000 million dollars (about 176,000 million euros) in 2022, according to Chinese customs.

On Tuesday, Li Qiang said that in the first four months of this year, the amount of trade was already 70 billion dollars (64 billion euros), an annual growth of more than 40%.

Mikhail Mishustin traveled accompanied by various Russian officials, such as Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak, in charge of the energy portfolio.

– “Worries” –

China became Russia’s biggest energy customer last year and kept Russian gas exports from collapsing, despite Western sanctions imposed on Moscow following the war in Ukraine. .

On Tuesday, Alexander Novak told the Shanghai forum that energy supplies from Russia to China will increase by around 40% in 2023, according to Russian news agencies.

Analysts say China, given its economic and diplomatic clout, has the upper hand in its bilateral relationship with Russia, a growing imbalance as the international community increasingly isolates Moscow.

For Ryan Hass, an analyst at the American firm Brookings Institution, the leaders of Russia and China have “closed together because of grievances and concerns that because of [tener] common goals”.

In February, the Chinese government issued a document calling for a “political solution” to the conflict in Ukraine, in which the territorial integrity of all countries would be respected.

A month later, at a summit in Moscow, Xi invited Putin to Beijing.




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