March 25, 2023

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China is “worried” about the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. Putin made surprising statements

Russian President Vladimir Putin praised China’s “balanced position” on the war in Ukraine, but admitted there were “questions and concerns” about the invasion.

According to CNN, Putin’s intervention is a confession of divergent views between the two countries regarding the conflict.

“We very much appreciate the balanced position of our Chinese friends regarding the crisis in Ukraine. We understand your questions and concerns in this regard,” Putin said in an opening speech at the meeting, according to News.

“During Thursday’s meeting, we will explain in detail our position on this issue, although we have talked about it before,” he said.

Putin made the remarks when meeting Chinese leader Xi Jinping for the first time since the invasion of Ukraine at a regional summit in Uzbekistan, days after Russia suffered a series of major military setbacks in Ukraine.

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So far, China has refused to definitively condemn Russia’s unprovoked attack on Ukraine, amid increasing economic assistance to its neighbor, boosting bilateral trade to record levels.

Xi said Russia and China will cooperate

Xi said Beijing “will work with Russia to expand strong mutual support on matters of each other’s core interests” and “play a leading role in consolidating stability and positive energy in a world of change and disorder.” according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

Xi also said that he appreciates “Russia’s adherence to the one-China principle” and emphasized that “Taiwan is a part of China.”

The two authoritarian leaders have been close partners in recent years, amid growing tensions with the West.

China has offered tacit support for Russia’s actions in Ukraine, while Moscow has backed Beijing and criticized Washington for US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taipei in August. Beijing reacted with unprecedented military exercises around the autonomous democratic island, which it claims as its own territory.

The US message to China

The White House tried to play down the role of the meeting between the two leaders on Thursday, arguing that Beijing has not yet violated Western sanctions against Moscow or provided direct material assistance to Russia.

“Our message to China, I think, has been consistent: this is not the time for any kind of normal business with Mr. Putin, given what he has done inside Ukraine. This is not the time to be isolated from the rest of the international community, which has largely condemned what he is doing in Ukraine and not only condemned it, but made efforts to help Ukrainians defend themselves and defend their territorial integrity.” , said John Kirby, the former Pentagon spokesman.

In Thursday’s meeting, Putin condemned the United States for what he called “provocations” in the Taiwan Strait and criticized attempts to “create a unipolar world.” These attempts, he invoked, “have recently taken an ugly form and are absolutely unacceptable for most states on the planet.”

The two are holding talks on the sidelines of a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, a regional security-focused grouping that also includes India, Pakistan and four Central Asian nations.

Russian and Chinese forces conducted joint exercises

In a symbolic show of strength and unity, the Russian and Chinese navies conducted joint patrols and exercises in the Pacific Ocean just hours before the leaders’ meeting, according to Russia’s Defense Ministry.

At the beginning of Thursday’s meeting, Putin emphasized the strengthening of economic ties between China and Russia, with bilateral trade exceeding 140 billion dollars last year.

“I am convinced that by the end of the year we will reach new record levels, and in the near future, as agreed, we will increase our annual trade turnover to 200 billion dollars or more,” he said.

Putin last met Xi during a visit to the Chinese capital for the Winter Olympics in February this year. The two leaders projected their “borderless partnership” and released a 5,000-word document expressing their joint opposition to “further NATO expansion.”

Thursday’s meeting comes as part of Xi’s first trip outside China’s borders in more than two years and just weeks before he tries to secure a rule-breaking third term at a major political meeting in Beijing – action that will strengthen his status as the most powerful leader of China in recent decades.

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