friends among foes
Putin and Xi reaffirm Russia-China relations amid unrest
Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin met virtually on Friday to solidify their partnership. The meeting comes as Russia faces "unprecedented pressure" in the war against Ukraine, CNN reports. This is largely due to Ukraine's resistance to Russia's advancement as well as support for Kyiv from the West.
At the same time, China is facing the repercussions of its zero-COVID policy and a new rise in COVID cases. Both countries have continued to strengthen ties amid global opposition. "In the face of increasing geopolitical tensions, the significance of the Russian-Chinese strategic partnership is growing as a stabilizing factor," said Putin during the meeting. He added that their relationship was "a model of cooperation between major powers in the 21st century."
China has refused to condemn Russia's actions in Ukraine, opting instead to blame the U.S. and western allies for the escalation of conflict, CNN continues. Last week, the two countries conducted joint military drills in response to "aggressive U.S. military build-up," reports The Washington Post. In addition, the U.S. military revealed that a Chinese fighter plane attempted to intercept an Air Force aircraft, nearly colliding with it. "Military and military-technical cooperation ... occupies a special place in Russian-Chinese cooperation," Putin remarked. "We aim to strengthen cooperation between the armed forces of Russia and China."
"In the face of a difficult and far from unambiguous international situation, we are ready to build up strategic cooperation with Russia," said Xi during the meeting, adding that the partnership is for the "benefit of the peoples of our countries and in the interests of stability throughout the world."