Vladimir Putin sees "unlimited possibilities" in Russian-Chinese cooperation
China supports a "peaceful settlement" of the conflict in Ukraine, Chinese leader Xi Jinping told Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday as Beijing seeks to broker between Moscow and Kiev. © GRIGORY SYSOYEV / AFP
Text by: RFI Follow
Russian President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday he sees "unlimited possibilities" in Russian-Chinese cooperation, ahead of a state dinner in the Kremlin with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping.
Second day of Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to Moscow. Economic cooperation between Beijing and Moscow is "a priority" for Russia, Russian President Vladimir Putin said after talks in the Kremlin with his Chinese counterpart Xi. "I am sure that Russian-Chinese cooperation has truly unlimited possibilities and prospects," he added, according to images broadcast on Russian television.
Putin said Russia, China and Mongolia had finalized agreements on a "Siberian Force 2" gas pipeline project - intended to make deliveries to China - and that Moscow was also willing to increase oil exports to China. He also said Moscow was ready to help Chinese companies set up in Russia to replace Western firms that left the country because of the conflict in Ukraine.
A vague peace plan
China, which in February proposed a peace plan for the Ukrainian conflict, is "consistently guided by UN principles ... and seeks a peaceful settlement," Xi said, according to his remarks translated into Russian, after the Kremlin talks. "We are always for peace and dialogue," he stressed. This peace plan proposed by Chinese diplomacy was also on the menu of discussions. The document was released by China on February 24, exactly one year after the outbreak of the conflict. But this twelve-point document does not propose any concrete measures.
This peace plan is a very vague list of agreed formulas, which could be summed up in its first paragraph: "Above all," Beijing writes, "the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of all countries must be effectively guaranteed.»
After the Russian invasion, some saw it as a way to lecture Vladimir Putin, but without saying so, the text does not spare NATO either. According to Chinese diplomacy, it is necessary to abandon the Cold War mentality, not to guarantee the security of a region by strengthening military blocs. For the rest, it is a litany of good feelings: "Conflicts and wars do no one any good [...]. Double standards must be rejected [...]. There is no simple solution to complex problems."
China nevertheless clarifies that dialogue and negotiations remain the only solutions, and insists on the protection of civilians, as well as the necessary safety of nuclear power plants. As for the sanctions against Russia, she considers them counterproductive. The policy of maximum pressure, Beijing concludes, only creates new problems.
NATO's presence in Asia is a concern
Russia and China also say they are "concerned" about NATO's growing presence in Asia, the presidents of the two countries said on Tuesday (March 21st): "Both sides are very concerned about the growing strengthening of ties between NATO and the countries of the Asia-Pacific region regarding military and security issues. Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping said, accusing the Atlantic Alliance of "undermining peace and regional stability".
Moscow and Beijing "are against the formation of exclusive closed blocs in the Asia-Pacific region," they stressed, denouncing "the negative influence of the strategy of the United States guided by a Cold War mentality [...] on peace and stability in this region".
Russia and China also expressed "strong concern" over possible "consequences and risks for strategic stability in the Asia-Pacific region" due to plans by the US-Australian-UK alliance (Aukus) to build nuclear submarines. Moscow and Beijing "resolutely call on the members of this partnership to strictly fulfil their commitments on non-proliferation [...] and support regional peace," they said.
► READ ALSO: Xi Jinping in Moscow: convergences on what should be the world order, divergences on how to achieve it
And with AFP)
Newsletter Receive all the international news directly in your mailbox
Follow all the international news by downloading the RFI application
Read on on the same topics:
- Xi Jinping
- Vladimir Poutine