Russia-China relationship now ‘unprecedented’ – Putin
The friendship between Russia and China has become an example of how two nations can develop together and support each other “in almost all areas,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Friday.
Speaking to his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping at their first face-to-face meeting since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, Putin noted how Moscow and Beijing have been in constant contact and have continued to boost cooperation.
“Regarding our bilateral relations, they are, indeed, developing steadily in the spirit of friendship and strategic partnership,” Putin said in publicly-broadcast comments before the start of the discussions. “They have acquired a truly unprecedented nature and are an example of worthy relations that help both parties to develop and, at the same time, support each other in their development.”
Following the meeting between two leaders, Russia and China put out a joint statement echoing the tone of Putin’s comments.
“Friendship between the two States has no limits, there are no ‘forbidden’ areas of cooperation, strengthening of bilateral strategic cooperation is neither aimed against third countries nor affected by the changing international environment and circumstantial changes in third countries,” the document reads.
In the statement, Xi and Putin agreed on a bilateral agenda for the future of the two nations’ relations while also addressing how Beijing and Moscow would address third parties, including America.
As part of the statement, China took Russia’s side on the ongoing debate regarding the eastwards expansion of the US-led NATO military bloc, with both parties agreeing that it should be put to a halt.
“The sides oppose further enlargement of NATO and call on the North Atlantic Alliance to abandon its ideologized cold war approaches,” it reads, as well as urging the bloc to respect “the sovereignty, security and interests of other countries, the diversity of their civilizational, cultural and historical backgrounds, and to exercise a fair and objective attitude towards the peaceful development of other States.”
In recent years, Russia and China have worked together to boost economic cooperation, and bilateral trade now exceeds $140 billion per year. On Friday, Russia’s energy giant Gazprom and the China National Petroleum Corporation signed a long-term contract for the supply of 10 billion cubic meters of Russian gas to Beijing.