Chinese leader Xi Jinping has told Russian President Vladimir Putin the “political mutual trust” between their countries was “continuously deepening” as the two men met for bilateral talks in Beijing.
State news agency Xinhua reported on Wednesday that Xi also called for joint efforts by China and Russia to “safeguard international fairness” and “justice” as he hailed “close and effective strategic coordination” between their two countries.
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Xi noted that he and Putin had met “42 times in the past 10 years and [had] developed a good working relationship and a deep friendship”.
The two leaders last met in March when Xi travelled to Moscow. The two men spoke at that time of a “new era” of cooperation, building on the “no-limits” partnership they announced in 2022 days before Putin launched his full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
China’s Middle East envoy Zhai Jun is due to travel to the region soon.
“The visit aims to help with de-escalation in the Middle East,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning told reporters at a regular briefing on Tuesday without going into further detail. “This is part of China’s efforts to promote peace talks.”
Putin told Xi that China had a crucial role to play in foreign policy.
“In the current difficult conditions, close foreign policy coordination is especially necessary – which is what we are doing, and today we will also discuss all of this,” the Russian leader said.
The meeting is taking place on the sidelines of a forum to mark 10 years of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a globe-spanning infrastructure development policy that is one of Xi’s signature policies.
Leaders and senior politicians from some 130 countries are in the Chinese capital for the event, which opened on Wednesday.
China is Russia’s largest trading partner, with the exchange between the nations reaching a record $190bn last year, Beijing customs data shows.
Putin is on a mission to strengthen the two countries’ already strong bond, although experts say Moscow is increasingly the junior partner in the relationship.
Beijing has attempted to position itself as a mediator in the Ukraine war, but it has refused to condemn Russia’s full-scale invasion, which began in February 2022.
Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies