Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin accused the United States of “interfering” in their countries’ affairs during a telephone call on Thursday, the Kremlin said.
The West has viewed Moscow and Beijing, both of whom are seeking to expand their global influence, with increased anxiety over the past two years as they ramp up ties in trade and defence.
Xi and Putin denounced the “US policy of interfering in the internal affairs of other states” during an hour-long call, the Kremlin said.
“The leaders of the two countries realise that the US is practically implementing a policy of double containment, (toward) both Russia and China,” Kremlin aide Yuri Ushakov said.
Moscow has looked to Beijing as a crucial economic lifeline since the West hit Russia with unprecedented sanctions over its military assault on Ukraine.
China has meanwhile benefited from cheap Russian energy imports and access to vast natural resources, including steady gas shipments via the Power of Siberia pipeline.
Trade between the two countries has surged in the last two years, hitting $240.1 billion in 2023 — a 26 percent annual increase — according to Chinese customs data.
Beijing and Moscow declared a “no limits” partnership days before Russia launched its full-scale military assault on Ukraine, and the two have expanded ties even as most Western countries turned their back on Moscow.
China has itself been criticised, notably by the United States, over a number of thorny issues, including increasingly belligerent behaviour toward self-ruled democratic Taiwan, which Beijing claims as its territory.
“In discussing the situation in the Asia-Pacific region, the Russian President reaffirmed his principled position on the Taiwan issue, which is to support the ‘one China’ policy,” the Kremlin said in its statement about the call.
Xi said the two “should closely collaborate strategically, defend the sovereignty, security and development interests of their respective countries, and resolutely oppose interference in internal affairs by external forces”, according to a readout from Chinese state broadcaster CCTV.
The Chinese leader also wished Putin well in his coming presidential election, according to the Kremlin.
“Xi said he knows that Russia is now in the midst of an election campaign and wished the upcoming elections in March to be successful,” Ushakov said.
Putin, who has faced isolation from most Western countries over the conflict in Ukraine, met with Xi in a rare trip abroad to Beijing last October.