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Putin says Xi has concerns about Ukraine, praises China's stance

Putin says Xi has concerns about Ukraine, praises China’s stance

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  • Shi is on her first flight since the COVID pandemic
  • Putin praised Xi for Ukraine’s “balanced” stance
  • Putin rebukes US over ‘provocations’ in Taiwan
  • Xi and Putin discuss Ukraine and Taiwan

SAMARKAND, Uzbekistan (September 15) (Reuters) – Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday he understood Xi Jinping had questions and concerns about the situation in Ukraine but praised the Chinese leader for what he said was a “balanced” stance on the conflict.

Russia’s war in Ukraine has killed tens of thousands and pushed the global economy into uncharted waters as food and energy prices soar amid the biggest confrontation between Moscow and the West since the Cold War.

In their first face-to-face meeting since the war, Xi called Putin his “old friend” after Putin said US attempts to create a unipolar world would fail.

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“We highly appreciate the balanced stance of our Chinese friends when it comes to the Ukraine crisis,” Putin told Xi.

“We understand your questions and concerns about this. During today’s meeting, we will of course explain our position.”

Putin’s first comments about China’s war concern came just days after the lightning defeat of his forces in northeastern Ukraine. Read more

China has refrained from condemning the Russian operation against Ukraine or describing it as an “invasion”, in line with the Kremlin’s position, which describes the war as a “special military operation”.

The last time Xi and Putin met in person, just weeks before Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, they announced a “borderless” partnership and signed a promise of further cooperation against the West. Read more

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However, Beijing remains troubled by the impact on the global economy and has been careful not to provide material support to Russia that could lead to Western sanctions on China’s economy.

‘old friend’

The partnership between Xi and Putin is considered one of the most important developments in geopolitics after the astonishing rise of China over the past 40 years.

Once the leader of the global communist hierarchy, after the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia is now a junior partner to a rising China that is expected to overtake the United States as the world’s largest economy in the next decade.

Xi, the son of a communist revolutionary who publicly praised jewels of Russian literature, and Putin, who grew up in Leningrad, now Saint Petersburg, and grew up under the Soviet-era KGB, say their relations have never been better.

The nearly seven-month war in Ukraine has strained Russia’s economic and military might, although Putin says his country is tilting toward Asia because the West, he says, is in decline.

Although Russia and China have been rivals in the past and have fought wars, Putin and Xi share a view of the world that sees the West as decadent and in decline just as China challenges the supremacy of the United States.

Xi said China will work with Russia.

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“In the face of changes in the world, in our time and history, China is willing to work with Russia to play a leading role in demonstrating the responsibility of major powers, instilling stability and positive energy in a turbulent world,” Xi told Putin.

Putin has openly supported China at the expense of Taiwan.

China has held military exercises similar to the blockade around Taiwan after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited the island last month. The Taiwan government firmly rejects China’s sovereignty claims.

“We intend to firmly adhere to the ‘one China’ principle,” Putin said, adding, “We condemn the provocations by the United States and its satellites in the Taiwan Strait.”

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Writing by Olsas Oysoff and Guy Faulconbridge; Editing by Raisa Kasulowski, Thomas Janowski and John Boyle

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.