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Syria, Iran, N. Korea on agenda as Xi meets with Putin in Moscow 70 yrs since diplomatic ties began

Syria, Iran, N. Korea on agenda as Xi meets with Putin in Moscow 70 yrs since diplomatic ties began
There are a lot of common causes on the table for the leaders of Russia and China as they meet in the Russian capital. The visit coincides with the 70th anniversary of Beijing opening diplomatic relations with Moscow.

China and Russia “have strong political mutual trust and support each other firmly on issues concerning each other’s core interests and major concerns,” Xi said ahead of his trip. On the international stage, the two nations have worked hand-in-hand to end the conflict in Syria, draft and preserve the nuclear deal with Iran, and end the standoff on the Korean Peninsula. All of these issues will likely be on the agenda during the meeting at the Kremlin on Wednesday.

While in Moscow, the Chinese leader will also attend a performance at the Bolshoi theatre. He will then travel to St. Petersburg for the International Economic Forum.

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A common cause in Syria

The threat of terrorists migrating from Syria to southeast Asia – in Russia and China’s backyard – has prompted Moscow and Beijing to work together to bring stability back to Syria and the surrounding region.

Both nations have advocated for a peaceful, political solution to the Syrian conflict. They have challenged the “Assad must go” rhetoric and resolutions put forward by the United States and its allies on the UN Security Council, sometimes even employing their veto powers.

Salvaging the Iran deal

Putin and Xi will undoubtedly compare notes on the latest developments on Iran. As signatories of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA, colloquially known as the ‘Iran nuclear deal’), Russia and China have loudly protested Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the accord and unilaterally reimpose sanctions.

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With Washington ramping up its rhetoric and deploying warships to the Persian Gulf to “send a message” to Tehran, Putin and Xi are expected to discuss how their countries can help Iran work around the sanctions – and growing hostility – from Washington.

Diffusing tensions with North Korea

The positions of Russia and China also coincide on the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. The two nations have been coordinating diplomatic efforts to lift sanctions on Pyongyang. In March, South Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak-yeon thanked Russia, China, and Japan for their “support” and “constructive role” in trying to negotiate nuclear disarmament with the North.

Moscow and Beijing have sharply criticized US military drills and exercises that have been held in the region, describing these activities as counter-productive provocations.

Seeing eye-to-eye on Venezuela

China and Russia are also in agreement on who is the legitimate president of Venezuela. While self-declared interim president Juan Guaido has received the blessing of Washington and its European allies, Moscow and Beijing continue to recognize Nicolas Maduro as the country’s leader.

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The Maduro government has received both diplomatic and material support from the two countries. China has sent humanitarian aid to help counter US sanctions imposed on Caracas, while Russia has stepped up military cooperation with the South American nation.

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