Ties between Russia and China are a threat to global peace, and the international community must resist the “expansion of authoritarianism,” officials in Taipei said yesterday.
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday met Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) for their first face-to-face talks since the start of the conflict in Ukraine, hailing their strategic ties in defiance of the West.
In the Uzbek city of Samarkand, Xi told Putin he was “willing to make efforts with Russia to assume the role of great powers.”
Putin reiterated Russia’s support for China’s claim over Taiwan. The relationship between the two leaders has rattled Taipei, where the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it “severely condemns Russia for following the Chinese Communist Party’s [CCP] authoritarian expansionist government to continue to make false statements at international venues that demean our country’s sovereignty.”
“[Russia] calls those who maintain peace and the status quo provocative, which highly demonstrates the harm caused by the alliance of Chinese and Russian authoritarian regimes on international peace, stability, democracy and freedom,” the statement said.
Formerly Cold War allies with a tempestuous relationship, China and Russia have drawn closer in recent years as part of what they call a “no-limits” relationship acting as a counterweight to US global dominance.
For Putin, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit in Samarkand comes at an important time, as his forces face major battlefield setbacks in Ukraine and a continued Western push to make Russia an international pariah.
For Xi, it is an opportunity to shore up his credentials as a global statesman ahead of a pivotal CPP congress next month, in which he is expected to secure a third term.
“China is willing to make efforts with Russia to assume the role of great powers, and play a guiding role to inject stability and positive energy into a world rocked by social turmoil,” Xi told Putin at the talks.
China Central Television also quoted Xi as saying that China was willing to work with Russia to support “each other’s core interests.”
Putin took a clear broadside at the US, which has been leading efforts to support Ukraine and impose sanctions on Russia.
“Attempts to create a unipolar world have recently acquired an absolutely ugly form and are completely unacceptable,” Putin said.
“We highly appreciate the balanced position of our Chinese friends in connection with the Ukrainian crisis,” Putin told Xi, while reiterating Moscow’s backing for China on Taiwan.
“We condemn the provocation of the US and their satellites in the Taiwan Strait,” Putin said, after a US Senate committee on Wednesday took the first step toward Washington directly providing billions of dollars in military aid to Taiwan.
It was the first in-person meeting between the two leaders since Putin saw Xi in early February for the Winter Olympic Games in Beijing, days before the Russian leader launched an invasion of Ukraine.
The Kremlin has touted the summit in the ancient Silk Road city of Samarkand as showing there is an “alternative” to Western-dominated international institutions.
The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation — comprising China, India, Pakistan, Russia and the ex-Soviet Central Asian nations of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan — was established in 2001 as an economic and security group to rival Western institutions.
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