China, Russia eye closer friendship amid tensions with West

Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin promised ever-closer cooperation and oversaw a series of deals on Saturday, as the two countries deepen ties in the face of growing tensions with the West.

In what was Putin’s fourth trip to China since Xi became president in 2013, the two men stressed their shared outlook which mirrors the countries’ converging trade, investment and geopolitical interests.

“Russia and China stick to points of view which are very close to each other or are almost the same in the international arena,” Putin said. The Russian leader added that the two had discussed “strengthening together the fight against international terrorism”, the nuclear issue on the Korean peninsula, Syria, and stability in the South China Sea.

Russia and China have been brought together by mutual geopolitical concerns, among them wariness of the United States. The two countries often vote as a pair on the UN Security Council, where both hold a veto, sometimes in opposition to Western powers on issues such as Syria.

China has raised tensions with its neighbours and the US over its claims to virtually all of the South China Sea, where it has built militarised artificial islands to bolster its claims in the contested but strategically vital region.

Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula and support for other Ukrainian separatist movements have led to the

worst East-West standoff since the Cold War. -AFP

THE PASHTUN TIMES

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