A senior Russian security official has stated that the Kremlin wants to strengthen ties with Beijing as one of its main policy goals.
Most important points:
- The comments were made during a meeting between Chinese and Russian security officials
- Nikolai Patrushev says both countries will work to fight terrorism and foreign interference
- President Xi Jinping has expressed support for Russia’s ‘core interests’
Russian Security Council secretary Nikolai Patrushev said Moscow plans to strengthen “comprehensive partnership and strategic cooperation with Beijing as an unreserved foreign policy priority”.
Patrushev, one of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s closest associates, spoke during a meeting with Chinese Communist Party official Guo Shengkun in Beijing.
“In the current circumstances, our countries need to show even greater willingness for mutual support and development of cooperation,” Patrushev said.
In a succinct statement, Patrushev’s office said Russia and China have agreed to “expand information sharing on countering extremism and foreign attempts to undermine the constitutional order of both countries”.
China backs Russia’s ‘core interests’
The Chinese and Russian officials also stressed the need to expand cybersecurity cooperation and contact between counter-terrorism services.
Mr Putin met Chinese President Xi Jinping in Uzbekistan last week, marking their first meeting since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February.
A Chinese government statement released after the meeting did not specifically mention Ukraine, but said Mr Xi promised “strong support” for Russia’s “core interests”.
Beijing has used the term “core interests” to describe issues such as national sovereignty and the ruling Communist Party’s claim to Taiwan – an issue on which it is willing to go to war.
Xi’s government has refused to criticize Russia’s military actions.
China and India have both increased imports of Russian oil and gas, prompting Moscow to lift Western sanctions imposed over its actions in Ukraine.
At the meeting, Putin praised the Chinese president for maintaining a “balanced” approach to the Ukrainian crisis.
He said he was ready to discuss Beijing’s “concerns” about Ukraine.
Putin’s comment came as volatile oil prices and economic uncertainty caused by months of fighting in Ukraine sparked unrest in China.
Xi and Putin met on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, a security alliance created to counteract US influence.