China to ‘prioritise’ ties with Russia as Xi Jinping meets PM Mishustin

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday during a meeting with Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin described Beijing and Moscow as “great neighbouring powers” and “strategic partners,” saying China would “prioritise” ties with Russia.

Xi said Chinese Premier Li Qiang would “continue to prioritise the all-round strategic partnership between China and Russia,” adding that: “We are great neighbouring powers and comprehensive strategic partners.”

The two countries have described Xi’s three-day trip as an opportunity to deepen their “no-limits friendship.”

China looks to Russia as a source of oil and gas for its energy-hungry economy, and as a partner in standing up to what both see as US aggression, domination of global affairs and unfair punishment for their human rights records.

Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, right, shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping after their talks in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, March 21, 2023.AP Photo

Xi’s three-day trip also serves as a show of support for an internationally isolated Putin, just days after a war crimes tribunal issued a warrant for his arrest over an accusation of unlawfully deporting Ukrainian children.

“We are always open to negotiations,” Putin told the Chinese leader, who was on his first visit to Moscow since the start of Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine last year.

President Vladimir Putin told his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on Monday that Russia was open to discussing China’s proposals to end the fighting in Ukraine at the start of high-stakes talks at the Kremlin.

The summit came as China seeks to portray itself as a neutral party in the Ukraine conflict, but Washington warned the world should not be fooled by Beijing’s moves. 

Both Moscow and Beijing have accused Washington of trying to isolate them and hold back their development as they challenge it for regional and global leadership.


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