Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin vowed to forge closer ties as they huddled in Central Asia on Thursday to discuss Russia’s war in Ukraine.
The meeting in Samarkand, Uzbekistan took place on the sidelines of a regional summit. It was the first meeting between the two leaders since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February.
“China is ready to work with Russia in extending strong support to each other on issues concerning their respective core interests,” Mr. Xi said during the meeting, according to China’s state-run Xinhua news agency.
Mr. Xi used the meeting to highlight the joint efforts by the authoritarian governments of China and Russia to become leading world powers.
“In the face of historical changes in the world and times, as major countries, China is willing to work together with Russia to play a leading role and to inject stability into the turbulent world,” Mr. Xi said.
Before the talks, Mr. Putin said the Chinese leader is “my good friend” and that close relations between Russia and China are growing.
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“The Russia-China comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination is as stable as mountains,” Mr. Putin said, noting the strategic cooperation accord reached in February.
On the topic of Ukraine, Mr. Putin offered thanks to “our Chinese friends’ balanced position in connection with the Ukraine crisis.”
“We understand your questions and your concerns in this regard,” he said. “During today’s meeting, we will certainly explain in detail our position on this issue.”
Russia is waging a war of attrition in Ukraine and suffering high casualty rates along with recently losing occupied territory inside the country to a Ukrainian counteroffensive.
The conflict has resulted in tens of thousands of deaths and impacted the global economy with a confrontation between Russia and the West not seen since the Cold War.
Mr. Xi, for his part, is preparing for a major Chinese Communist Party meeting next month. The session is expected to see further consolidation of Mr. Xi’s power with a third term as party leader and chairman of the Central Military Commission.
On Taiwan, the Chinese statement said Mr. Putin reaffirmed that Russia is “firmly committed” to Beijing’s “one China” principle that views the island state as part of China.
The U.S. version of the one-China policy does not recognize China’s sovereignty over Taiwan and regards the island’s status as unresolved.
China also plans to consolidate and deepen bilateral ties with China and expand cooperation in areas such as trade and energy, according to the Chinese statement.
China has supported Russia’s economy that is struggling under international sanctions imposed over the Ukraine conflict by increasing purchases of Russian oil.
Mr. Putin said that he wishes the “comrade president” success at the upcoming CCP meeting in advancing plans for developing China.
“Bilateral relations are a model for ensuring global and regional stability,” Mr. Putin said.
“Together, we support building a just, democratic and multipolar world order based on international rules and the central role of the United Nations, not on certain rules that someone has invented and is attempting to impose on others without even explaining what it is all about,” he said.