Xi, Putin affirm China-Russia cooperation amid sanctions on Russia
China and Russia affirm their commitment to closer ties in light of the ongoing Ukraine war and massive western sanctions on Moscow.
China highly appreciates the fact that Russia is not refusing to resolve the Ukrainian crisis through negotiations, Chinese President Xi Jinping told his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin on Friday.
"The Chinese side has noted that the Russian side has said it has never refused to resolve the conflict through diplomatic negotiations and expressed its appreciation for this," Xi was quoted as saying in the video call by Chinese news agency CCTV.
China will continue adhering to its objective and fair stance regarding the situation in Ukraine while playing a constructive role in finding a peaceful resolution to the Ukraine crisis, Xi stressed.
Furthermore, he underlined that China and Russia should cooperate further within the energy sector.
"[Russia and China] should continue to efficiently use existing working mechanisms and communication channels in order to promote positive progress in the bilateral practical cooperation in trade and economic, energy, financial and agricultural spheres," Xi said.
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.
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 last Friday that trade between Russia and China this year is expected to amount to an unprecedented $220 billion soon.
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 this year, trade was up by more than a quarter compared to the year before.
A growing friendship between Xi and Putin has helped put the two countries closer together. The ambitions to end what China and Russia regard as America's economic and geopolitical hegemony further strengthened the diplomatic ties.
This is particularly expressed by the two countries employing their national currencies and gold to carry out trades. Expanding that practice to other world economies is further threatening the American dollar's status as the world's dominant reserve currency.
Putin, on the other hand, stressed on Russian TV that he aspired for a more bold and stronger military cooperation with Beijing, though this topic was not mentioned in CCTV's report on the call.
Read more: China, Russia to hold joint naval drills: WSJ
"Facts have repeatedly proved that containment and suppression are unpopular, and sanctions and interference are doomed to failure," Xi told Putin.
The Chinese leader also underlined the ideological affinity that Moscow and Beijing share in light of their opposition to US-led western hegemony.
"China is ready to work with Russia and all progressive forces around the world that oppose hegemonism and power politics...and firmly defend the sovereignty, security and development interests of both countries and international justice," Xi concluded.
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.
"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 Washington was "monitoring Beijing's activity closely."