BEIJING — Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday reaffirmed his country’s support for Russia on sovereignty and security issues in a phone call with Russian leader Vladimir Putin, state media said.
Xi told Putin that “all parties should responsibly push for a proper settlement of the Ukrainian crisis”, according to the official Xinhua news agency.
The Kremlin said in its account of the call that Putin “outlined his basic assessments of the situation in Ukraine.” Xi “noted the legitimacy of measures taken by Russia to protect fundamental national interests in the face of challenges to its security created by external forces,” according to the official statement from Moscow.
China has refused to criticize or even refer to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in such terms, while accusing NATO and the West of pushing Moscow to attack.
Weeks before the Russian attack, Putin and Xi met in Beijing in February and oversaw the signing of an agreement promising that relations between the parties would have “no limits”. It remains unclear whether Xi was aware at the time of Russia’s plan to invade Ukraine.
During this meeting, the two leaders pushed back against American pressure, declaring their opposition to any enlargement of NATO and affirming that the island of Taiwan was part of China, despite having met a few hours before the kick off of the Winter Olympics in Beijing.
Xi told Putin on Wednesday that China “is willing to work with the Russian side to promote the steady and long-term development of bilateral pragmatic cooperation,” Xinhua reported. “China is willing, together with Russia, to continue to support each other on issues concerning fundamental interests and major concerns such as sovereignty and security”.
While offering tacit support for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, China has sought to appear neutral and avoid the possible repercussions of supporting the Russian economy under international sanctions.
Moscow and Beijing have increasingly aligned their foreign policies to oppose liberal democratic forces in Asia, Europe and beyond, taking a stand for an authoritarian regime with narrow borders and little regard for free speech. , minority rights or opposition politics.
Follow AP’s coverage of the war in Ukraine at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine
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