Putin Praises 'Unprecedented' Ties With China

He hails 'dignified relations' hours before Olympics begin
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 4, 2022 4:13 AM CST
Putin Praises 'Unprecedented' Ties With China
Chinese President Xi Jinping , and Russian President Vladimir Putin pose for a photo prior to their talks in Beijing, China, Friday, Feb. 4, 2022.   (Alexei Druzhinin, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday praised "unprecedented" close relations with China, as he met with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping in Beijing hours ahead of the Winter Olympics opening ceremony. The two leaders are looking to project themselves as a counterweight to the US and its allies, as China increasingly shows support for Moscow in its dispute with Ukraine that threatens to break out into armed conflict. Putin’s presence makes him the highest-profile guest at the Beijing Games following the decision by the US, Britain, and others not to send officials in protest of China’s human rights abuses and its treatment of Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities, the AP reports.

Relations "are developing in a progressive way with a spirit of friendship and strategic partnership," Putin said, highlighting close economic ties. "They have indeed become unprecedented. It’s an example of dignified relations that support mutual development." Putin and Xi declared their opposition to any expansion of NATO. The leaders issued a joint statement highlighting what it called "interference in the internal affairs" of other states, as Russia amasses troops on its border with Ukraine and China hosts the global games. "Some forces representing a minority on the world stage continue to advocate unilateral approaches to resolving international problems and resort to military policy," it read, in a thinly veiled reference to the US and its allies.

China’s state-run news agency reported the two leaders met at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse Friday afternoon. They did not appear to shake hands when greeting each other due to COVID-19 precautions. Putin also recalled his presence in Beijing for the 2008 Summer Olympics, and the Chinese delegation's attendance at Russia's 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, calling such exchanges "to a certain extent a tradition." The discussions mark their first in-person meeting since 2019 and come as China and Russia increasingly align their foreign policies bilaterally and in world bodies such as the United Nations, in opposition to the United States-led bloc. (More Vladimir Putin stories.)

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