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16 Dec, 2021 19:17

China supports Russia in NATO demands – Moscow

China supports Russia in NATO demands – Moscow

Chinese President Xi Jinping is fully supportive of Russia’s plan to work out security guarantees with NATO to protect its western border, Russian presidential aide Yuri Ushakov said on Wednesday.

Ushakov’s comments came after Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke with Xi via video link. The revelation that China is backing Moscow is particularly notable, as Beijing has previously sought to distance itself from Russia’s problems in dealing with other European states.

“Since the chairman [Xi] specifically stated that he supports Russia’s demands for guarantees, he is naturally well aware of and understands the main issue: the concerns Russia has on its western borders,” Ushakov said.

The presidential aide stressed that Xi had given his backing to Russia’s initiative to develop legally binding security with NATO.

“The sides have agreed to keep in touch on this issue. And we will keep our Chinese counterparts informed of how negotiations and contacts on this matter will unfold with our American and NATO partners,” Ushakov said.

The security guarantees sought by Moscow include an agreement to stop NATO from expanding east, which would close Ukraine’s door to membership, as well as a pledge to halt the deployment of weapons in states that neighbor Russia. On Wednesday, the country’s Foreign Ministry gave a draft version of the potential agreement to US Assistant Secretary of State Karen Donfried, who met with Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov on Wednesday.

Speaking to Moscow daily Vedomosti, Vasily Kashin, the director of the Centre for Comprehensive European and International Studies at Moscow’s HSE university, explained that China has shown “very unusual solidarity” with Russia on issues in Europe. According to Kashin, Beijing has previously expressed disapproval of NATO enlargement but has never before publicly supported Moscow’s policies.

According to Ushakov, the two leaders also discussed trade, the coronavirus pandemic, and Putin’s future visit to Beijing for the upcoming Winter Olympics.

“This is a conversation between two colleagues, two friends, and leaders of two great friendly states,” he said.