Correspondent in Beijing
Russia and China today called in a joint statement to the NATO to stop its expansion, while Moscow stresses that it fully supports Beijing’s position on Taiwan and opposes Taiwan independence in any form.
The joint statement was issued during the most anticipated summit: Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to China to attend the opening of the Winter Olympics, after meeting with his eastern counterpart Xi Jinping.
This meeting comes at a time when the two countries seek assert its independence from the West. Particularly the Russian side, after the global geopolitical tensions caused by the presence of its armed forces in front of the Ukraine border.
An antagonism that, in turn, has brought the positions of both authoritarian powers closer together.
In their statement, both leaders express the “joint vision” they have in terms of international security, at a time of growing tensions between Russia and Western countries over Ukraine. In addition, both leaders criticize US influence and the role of Western military alliances, NATO and AUKUS, in Europe and Asia, considering them destabilizing.
Also, both countries oppose «to any future enlargement of NATO», denouncing «the negative influence of the United States for the peace and stability of the Asia-Pacific region». They also show their “concern” about the creation in 2020 of the military alliance between the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia, known as AUKUS. Along these lines, they have criticized US influence and the role of Western military alliances, NATO and AUKUS, in Europe and Asia, considering them destabilizing.
In their statement they have shown the “joint vision” they have in terms of international security, at a time of growing tensions between Russia and Western countries over Ukraine.
Putin has set foot on Chinese soil carrying under his arm a new commercial agreement to supply an additional 10,000 million m3 of natural gas, according to official media reports. Through this maneuver, the Russian president is reaching out to the world’s largest energy consumer.
Xi, for his part, assured that this meeting “injects new vitality into the bilateral relationship.” The images show both leaders speaking on opposite sides of the table, without a mask, but surrounded by assistants who wear them.
Putin has welcomed the “unprecedented” relations between his country and China. «Our bilateral relations have progressed in a spirit of friendship and strategic partnership. These are truly unprecedented relations,” he said at the start of the meeting with his Chinese counterpart, according to statements broadcast on Russian television. Putin celebrated the bond as “an example of a worthy relationship in which each one helps and supports the other in his development.”
The Russian president has also congratulated his host before the imminent start of the winter olympics. “I want to thank you for the invitation to the opening ceremony,” he said. “We know firsthand that it is a huge task. I’m sure our Chinese friends have put it together brilliantly, as they always do for events of this kind.”
Today’s is Xi’s first personal meeting with a foreign leader in almost two years. Since the outbreak of the pandemic, all its summits have taken place online. This is one of the consequences of the zero tolerance policy China, which has managed to keep the virus at bay thanks largely to isolating itself from the rest of the world. A strategy that finds in the Winter Olympics one of the greatest tests to date.