Russian officials say Chinese President Xi Jinping supports Russia’s campaign to stop the expansion of the NATO alliance to the east.
Xi spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday by video call. Putin’s foreign policy advisor Yuri Ushakov said Putin spoke about “threats to Russia’s national interests from the U.S. and the NATO bloc.” He said they continually move military weapons and structures close to Russia’s borders.
Russian officials said Putin also told Xi about his recent talk with U.S. President Joe Biden.
Effort to block NATO expansion
Putin has been demanding guarantees that NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, will not expand to Ukraine or to deploy troops or weapons there. In recent weeks, however, Western nations have made diplomatic efforts to prevent a possible invasion of Ukraine by Russia. Russia has denied it has such plans. But thousands of Russian troops are reportedly deployed on Russia’s border with Ukraine.
The Russian leader told Xi that there was a need to hold talks with NATO and the United States to negotiate security guarantees. Ushakov said Xi “understands Russia’s concerns and fully supports our initiative to work out these security guarantees for Russia.”
China’s state-operated Xinhua news agency said: “China and Russia should increase their joint efforts to more effectively safeguard the security interests of both parties.”
Ushakov noted that Russia’s proposal has been given to U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Karen Donfried. She visited Moscow on Wednesday and met with Russian officials.
In recent years, China and Russia have increased cooperation in foreign policy to counter U.S. and Western influence in international economics and politics. Both countries have faced economic and other restrictions from the West. China has faced restrictions over its treatment of ethnic Uyghur Muslims in the Xinjiang area and its actions against the Hong Kong democracy movement. Russia has faced punishments for its seizure of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in 2014, and the imprisonment of opposition activist Alexei Navalny and interference in U.S. politics.
Growing ties between China, Russia
During their call, Putin and Xi praised relations between their two countries. Putin said their cooperation was based on “such principles as not interfering in internal affairs (of each other), respect for each other’s interests, determination to turn the shared border” into an area of peace and “neighborliness.”
China’s state broadcaster CCTV said that Xi told Putin, “Both China and Russia need to carry out more joint actions to more effectively safeguard our security interests.”
The statement also said Xi blamed “certain international forces” for interfering in the internal affairs of China and Russia.
Putin said he plans to meet with Xi in person in Beijing during the 2022 Winter Olympics there in February. The U.S., Canada, Australia and Britain have said they will not send officials to the Games as part of a diplomatic boycott. Other countries have decided not to send officials because of the threat of COVID-19.
Putin has used Russia’s partnership with China to balance U.S. influence and to make profitable energy deals and to sell other exports. Earlier this year, the two agreed to extend a 20-year friendship and cooperation treaty.
The Russian leader said trade between the sides was up 31 percent in the first 11 months of this year, reaching $123 billion. Putin also said China was becoming an international center for producing Russia’s Sputnik and Sputnik Light vaccines against COVID-19. Six manufacturers are to make more than 150 million treatments of the vaccine.
I’m Mario Ritter Jr.
Mario Ritter Jr. adapted this story for VOA Learning English from AP and Reuters reports. Susan Shand was the editor.
Words in This Story
bloc –n. a group of people or countries that are connected by treaty or agreement or by common goals
initiative –n. a plan or program that is intended to solve a problem
counter –v. something that is made or done as a defense against or response to something else; efforts to make some action less effective or less harmful
principle –n. a rule or belief that helps you know what is right and wrong and that influences your actions
affairs –n. (pl.) work or activities done for a purpose: professional, public, or personal business
determination –n. a quality that makes you continue trying to do or achieve something that is difficult
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