China to never accept US pressure on ties with Russia: Beijing
The Chinese Foreign Ministry underlines that it would not allow the United States to undermine Chinese-Russian ties as both nations continue developing their relations.
China will never accept that US "finger-pointing" target China-Russia relations and calls on Washington to work toward a political settlement of the Ukraine crisis instead of deteriorating the situation, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said Sunday.
Chinese Central Foreign Affairs Office Director Wang Yi and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken held a meeting on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference.
"We never accept the US's finger-pointing or even coercion targeting China-Russia relations," the foreign ministry said in a statement published after the meeting.
The United States, as a major power, should "work for a political settlement of the [Ukraine] crisis instead of fanning the flames or profiteering from the situation."
On Saturday, according to US State Department Spokesperson Ned Price, Blinken warned Wang "about the implications and consequences if China provides material support to Russia or assistance with systemic sanctions evasion."
Russian President Vladimir Putin said during talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping in late December that despite Western sanctions and blackmail, economic turnover between Russia and China has reached historic highs, adding that the objective of increasing trade volumes to $200 billion would be met ahead of time.
In a video call, as broadcast by the Rossiya 24 TV channel, the Russian President said, "Despite the unfavorable external environment, illegitimate restrictions, and certain Western countries' direct blackmail, Russia and China managed to ensure record high rates of mutual trade turnover growth."
He added that trade turnover "increased by around 25%" and that such dynamics would allow the two countries to "achieve the goal level of $200 billion by 2024.
Furthermore, Putin assured that Moscow is keen to ramp up its military cooperation with China, hailing the two countries' efforts to counter "unprecedented Western pressure and provocations."
At a conference co-hosted by the Society of Russian-Chinese Friendship and the Russian-Chinese Business Council, the deputy head of Russia's Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Vladimir Padalka, said in December that trade between Russia and China in 2022 is expected to amount to an unprecedented $220 billion soon.
"Our investment projects are totaling about a hundred. They give us hope that trade between Russia and China may reach some $220 billion soon," Padalka said, adding he expressed concern over a rise in illegal trafficking of knockoff goods to the regions on the border with China.
"We will bring this up with the customs and other agencies so that we can prevent trade in counterfeit products and other gray schemes that allow goods to be trafficked either way," he said.
By the end of 2022, the Russian customs agency forecasts that trade between the two countries will increase to $170 billion.
Between the months of January and November 2022, trade was up by more than a quarter compared to the year before.
Moreover, the Russian Consulate General in Harbin, China, said cargo traffic through the Zabaykalsk-Manchuria border crossing on the Russian-Chinese border saw record-high levels in January.
According to the top diplomat, mutual trade between the two countries is expected to grow even more in light of easing Covid-19 restrictions in China.
"The start of the year saw a record-high volume of cargo traffic through the Russian-Chinese border. According to [China] Railway Harbin [Group], around 1.5 million tonnes of cargo were transported through the Zabaykalsk-Manchuria railway border crossing during the first month of 2023, which is by 82.9% more than in January last year," the consulate general said on Telegram.