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China, Russia sign deals as ties at 'unprecedented high level'

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin (R) and Chinese Premier Li Qiang attend a welcoming ceremony on May 24, 2023 in Beijing, China. (Photo by Reuters)

China and Russia have signed several deals to expand Beijing's cooperation with Moscow despite the West's pressure on broadening ties.

Chinese premier Li Qiang said on Wednesday that the two sides aim to broaden their pragmatic cooperation in various fields.

Pragmatic cooperation between China and Russia has shown a "good" development trend, the number of investments has increased, and now we want to take our relation to a "new level," Li said in Beijing in a meeting with visiting Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin.

Mishustin, who arrived in the Chinese capital on Wednesday for a two-day visit, is in China to sign a set of bilateral agreements.

China’s growing ties cooperation with Russia comes despite pressure from the West, urging Beijing to sever its relations with Moscow over the Ukraine conflict.

However, China has made it clear that it will act in accordance to its foreign policy based on securing its national interests in international relations.

This is while trade between China and Russia doubled in 2022.

"Today, relations between Russia and China are at an unprecedented high level," Mishustin told Li in their meeting in Beijing.

"They are characterized by mutual respect of each other's interests, the desire to jointly respond to challenges, which is associated with increased turbulence in the international arena and the pattern of sensational pressure from the collective West," he said.

Mishustin then also predicted that bilateral trade will reach up to $200 billion in 2023.

He affirmed, "Our country is the leading supplier of oil to China. Exports of natural and liquefied gas, as well as coal, are steadily increasing.”

Russia and China “are ready to collaborate on the implementation of other major projects, including those involving renewable energy,"  Mishustin noted.

Last year, Moscow was hit by a slew of Western sanctions over its special military operation in Ukraine, which started in February 2022.

One of the outcomes of the West's punitive measures against Moscow, which included a cap on oil prices, was that China became the top buyer of Russian oil

Ever since the beginning of the war, the United States and its allies have been providing Ukraine with advanced weapons and imposing sanctions on Russia.

The Russian prime minister and other members of the delegation have also been on the US Treasury Department's sanctions list of Russian people and entities since last year.

The United States has imposed a raft of sanctions on China as well. 

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