China is willing to cooperate with Russia, President Xi Jinping has said, hailing strategic ties with Moscow in defiance of the Western hegemony.
In a face-to-face meeting on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Summit in Uzbekistan on Thursday, President Xi told his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin that “China is willing to make efforts with Russia to assume the role of great powers, and play a guiding role to inject stability and positive energy into a world rocked by social turmoil.”
He said bilateral relations should be aimed at supporting the “core interests” of one another, while deepening practical cooperation “on trade, agriculture, connectivity and other fields.”
“We are extremely willing to use this meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization to exchange views with you on international and regional issues of common concern.”
Meanwhile, President Putin said “attempts to create a unipolar world have recently acquired an absolutely ugly form and are completely unacceptable,” referring to the United States’ activities.
Putin also praised the Chinese stance on Russia and reiterated Moscow's backing for China on the issue of Taiwan.
“We highly appreciate the balanced position of our Chinese friends in connection with the Ukrainian crisis,” Putin told Xi, adding that his government adheres to the “principle of one China” and condemns “the provocation of the US and their satellites in the Taiwan Strait.”
It was the first in-person meeting between the two world leaders since Russia’s operation in Ukraine began on February 24.
The SCO is made up of China, Russia, India, Pakistan and four Central Asian countries – Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.
China and Russia have come closer in their relations in recent years as part of a “no-limit” relationship acting as a counterweight to the global dominance of the US.
They have also stepped up military cooperation in recent months, with China sending hundreds of troops to take part in military exercises in Russia's Far East.