Published: 17:39, May 17, 2024
Xi hails strong Moscow ties
By Cao Desheeng

Meeting visiting Russian leader, president says partnership helps the two sides and also the world 

Russian President Vladimir Putin arrives in Beijing, capital of China, May 16, 2024. (PHOTO / XINHUA)

President Xi Jinping on May 16 hailed China-Russia relations, saying that they have grown steadily over the years and stood the test of the changing international landscape.

Meeting the visiting Russian President Vladimir Putin in Beijing, Xi said the Sino-Russian relationship has become a fine example for major countries and neighboring countries to treat each other with respect and candor, and pursue friendship and mutual benefit.

Celebrating the 75th anniversary of China-Russia diplomatic ties is a defining theme of the bilateral relationship this year. Having lasted three quarters of a century, China-Russia relations have grown from strength to strength despite the ups and downs, and stood the test of time.

Xi added that over the years, he and Putin have met more than 40 times and stayed in close communication, providing strategic guidance that has ensured the sound, steady, and smooth development of the relationship. The China-Russia relationship today is hard-earned, and the two sides need to cherish and nurture it, he said.

Steady development of China-Russia relations is not only in the fundamental interests of the two countries and the two peoples, but also conducive to peace, stability, and prosperity of the region and the world at large.

On the new journey, China is ready to work with Russia to stay each other’s good neighbor, good friend, and good partner that trust each other, continue to consolidate the lasting friendship between the two peoples, and jointly pursue respective national development and revitalization and uphold fairness and justice in the world, Xi said.

Putin arrived in Beijing in the early hours of May 16 for a two-day state visit at the invitation of Xi.

Ahead of the trip, Putin highlighted the sound development of Russia-China relations, telling Xinhua News Agency in a written interview that “Russia-China relations have reached the highest level ever, and despite the difficult global situation, continue to get stronger”.

The relationship “has always relied on the principles of equality and trust, mutual respect for the sovereignty and consideration of each other’s interests”, he said.

Putin recalled his interactions with President Xi in the past decade or so, during which, they have met more than 40 times in various bilateral and multilateral settings.

“President Xi maintains a respectful, friendly, open and at the same time business-like style of communication. Our every meeting is not just a dialogue between old friends, which is important, too, just like for everyone, but also a fruitful exchange of views on the most topical issues on the bilateral and international agenda,” he said.

The Russian president emphasized that Russia-China ties are free from the influence of either ideology or political trends. Their multidimensional development is an informed strategic choice based on the wide convergence of core national interests, profound mutual trust, strong public support and the genuine friendship between the peoples of the two countries, he said.

In the past five years, trade between the two countries has doubled, he noted, saying that China has been Russia’s largest trading partner for 13 consecutive years, and in 2023, Russia ranked fourth among China’s trading partners.

“We are working to contribute to the development and prosperity of Russia and China by enhancing equal, mutually beneficial economic and humanitarian cooperation, and strengthen foreign policy coordination in the interests of building a just multipolar world order,” he added.

Putin’s visit, his first foreign trip since he was sworn in for a fifth term as Russian president on May 7, mirrors Xi’s state visit to Russia in March 2023, when Xi chose Russia for his first visit to a foreign country after being elected as Chinese president at the first session of the 14th National People’s Congress.

Putin’s visit also comes against the backdrop of the protracted Ukraine crisis. During the interview, he said that Russia is seeking a comprehensive, sustainable and just settlement of this conflict through peaceful means.

Putin commended China’s proposals to resolve the crisis, and said that Beijing proposes practicable and constructive steps to achieve peace by refraining from pursuing vested interests and constant escalation of tensions, and minimizing the negative impact of the conflict on the global economy and the stability of global value chains.

“They could therefore lay the groundwork for a political and diplomatic process that would take into account Russia’s security concerns and contribute to achieving a long-term and sustainable peace,” he said. “Unfortunately, neither Ukraine nor its Western patrons support these initiatives.”

Xinhua contributed to this report.