China to maintain close cooperation with Russia in 2023: Xi
Chinese President Xi Jinping says that ties between Moscow and Beijing could "find fresh prospects for growth in 2023.”
In a New Year telegram to Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chinese President Xi Jinping emphasized his willingness to boost ties with Moscow in the coming year, China Central Television (CCTV) reported on Saturday.
"I am ready to maintain close contacts with President Putin and to lead our countries to the deepening of comprehensive strategic cooperation and practical collaboration in various fields for the benefit of the peoples of the two countries," Xi's telegram read, as cited by CCTV.
In addition, the Chinese President stated that relations between Moscow and Beijing could "find fresh prospects for growth in 2023."
"In 2023, China will fully implement the spirit of the 20th Congress of the Chinese Communist Party and new development opportunities are in store for Chinese-Russian relations," he added.
The Chinese leader highlighted that 2022 was an unusual year but that "the Chinese-Russian ties have always shown robust development dynamics" despite the faster development of the international crisis and the continuous spread of the coronavirus infection worldwide.
According to Xi, China-Russia trade and economic cooperation have been gradually expanding, with new breakthroughs in the fields of energy and investment.
He also mentioned that Moscow and Beijing had officially announced holding a year of sports exchanges, "which even more enhanced the mutual understanding and traditional affection between the people of both nations."
On Friday, Putin greeted Xi on the New Year and expressed optimism that bilateral cooperation will reach new heights. The Russian President also emphasized that relations of comprehensive partnership and strategic cooperation between Russia and China continued to expand in the previous year, demonstrating high dynamic and resistance to external threats.
This comes after Beijing and Moscow declared earlier in the year a "no-limits" strategic partnership that saw the collective West concerned as two nations it is seeking to marginalize are growing closer together. However, China has been keeping the partnership on the down low in a bid to avert sanctions from the West.
US condemns cooperation
The United States is concerned by China's alignment with Russia in light of the ongoing Ukraine war, the US State Department said after Putin and Xi's video conference on Friday.
"Beijing claims to be neutral, but its behavior makes clear it is still investing in close ties to Russia," a State Department spokesperson said, adding that Washington was "monitoring Beijing's activity closely."
Read more: Kremlin: Putin not to wish Biden a happy new year