China will support Russia on security, Xi tells Putin in birthday call

China will support Russia on security, Xi tells Putin in birthday call

Chinese leader Xi Jinping reiterated his support for Moscow on “sovereignty and security” matters in a call with counterpart Vladimir Putin on Wednesday, upholding his backing for the countries’ partnership despite the global backlash against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Speaking to the Russian President on his 69th birthday, Xi also pledged to deepen strategic coordination between the two countries, according to China’s Foreign Ministry.

The call is thought to be the second time the two leaders have spoken since Russia invaded Ukraine. They also spoke just days after Moscow launched what it insists on calling a “special military operation”.

China, too, has refrained from referring to Russia’s actions as an invasion and has walked a fine line on the issue. It has portrayed itself as calling for peace and upholding the global order, while refusing to denounce Russia’s actions. It has also used its state media apparatus to mimic Kremlin lines blaming the United States and NATO for the crisis.

During Wednesday’s call, Xi stressed China had always “independently assessed the situation” in Ukraine and called for “all parties” to push for a “proper settlement of the Ukraine crisis” — echoing language he used in a March call with US President Joe Biden.

China is “willing to continue to play its role” in promoting a “proper solution” to Ukraine, he said.

Wednesday’s call was also a chance for the two leaders to check in on a growing trade relationship. Earlier this year, weeks before the Russian invasion, the two leaders in a face-to-face meeting said their countries had a “no limits” partnership and pledged to boost trade.

“Since the beginning of this year, bilateral relations have maintained a sound development momentum in the face of global turbulence and transformations,” Xi said in the Wednesday call.

“The Chinese side stands ready to work with the Russian side to push for steady and long-term development of practical bilateral cooperation,” Xi said, pointing to the “steady progress” of their trade ties and the opening last week of the first cross-border highway bridge over the Amur River.

Xi also pledged to work with Russia to strengthen communication and coordination in international bodies such as the United Nations — where the two countries often vote as a bloc.

“China is also willing to work with Russia to promote solidarity and cooperation among emerging market countries … and push for the development of the international order and global governance towards a more just and reasonable direction,” Xi said, in a comment that hit on the countries’ shared aim of pushing back against what they view as the global hegemony of the United States.

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Last Update: Wed, 15 Jun 22 23:08:10