The Russian and Chinese presidents vowed to reject interference by the West during a video call on Wednesday which came eight days after Putin spoke to Biden in another video call. President Xi is quoted by China’s state-run Xinhua news agency as saying: “At present, certain international forces under the guise of ‘democracy’ and ‘human rights’ are interfering in the internal affairs of China and Russia and brutally trampling on international law and recognised norms of international relations.
“China and Russia should increase their joint efforts to more effectively safeguard the security interests of both parties.”
Yuri Ushakov, a Kremlin aide, told Reuters that Xi offered support for Putin’s push to gain binding guarantees over security for Russia from the West and said he understood Moscow’s concerns.
The pair also expressed their negative view over the creation of new military alliances, including the partnering of Australia, Britain and the US in the AUKUS deal and “Quad” which brings together Australia, India, Japan and the United States.
Xi and Putin’s call underscores how Russia and China are turning to each other for support at a time of escalating tension with the West with Beijing under pressure over human rights atrocities against Muslims in Xinjiang and Moscow accused of threatening behaviour towards Ukraine.
Tensions over Taiwan are also simmering with the Chinese military in October saying peace and stability in the region was threatened by the US and Canada which had each sent a warship through the Taiwan Strait.
Kremlin insiders say Putin briefed the Chinese leader on his conversation with Biden during which the US president warned Russia against invading Ukraine while the Russian leader laid out his demand for pledges on security.
Putin told Xi: “A new model of cooperation has been formed between our countries, based, among other things, on such principles as non-interference in internal affairs and respect for each other’s interests.”
He added that he was looking forward to meeting Xi at February’s Winter Olympics in Beijing, which government officials from the UK, US, Australia and Canada are set to boycott.
During the video call with Xi, Putin said: “I would like to note that we invariably support each other on issues of international sports cooperation, including rejection of any attempts to politicize sports and the Olympic movement.”
The West’s move sparked threats of retaliation with Wang Wenbin, China’s foreign ministry spokesman, declaring the diplomatic ban would be punished by China.
He said: “The US, Britain, Australia and Canada are facing a loss of moral authority… And credibility by using the Olympics as a platform for politics.
“Their self-isolation will inevitably pay the price for these mistaken acts.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson told the Commons afterwards: “There will be effectively a diplomatic boycott of the Winter Olympics in Beijing. No ministers are expected to attend and no officials.
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“What I can tell the House is I don’t think sporting boycotts are sensible and that remains the policy of the Government.”
However, Emmanuel Macron is leading the EU towards a diplomatic row with the US after saying he would rather work with the International Olympic Committee on the protection of athletes around the world than engage in symbolic boycotts of the China games.
He said countries should not politicise the Games, adding: “As with all things on the international stage, I prefer to do things that have a useful
An EU diplomat told Politico: “We’re not rushing into it.
“I’m not seeing people rushing headlong to get behind the US position.”
Russia’s partnership with China can be seen as an attempt to balance US influence with Putin and Xi agreeing to extend their 20 year-long Treaty of Good Neighbourliness and Friendly Cooperation for another five years.
Bilateral trade saw a 30 percent boost to $123 billion in the first 11 months of this year with the two countries aiming to surpass $200bn, according to Putin.
He said China was becoming an international hub for the production of Russia’s Sputnik and Sputnik Light Covid vaccines, with deals signed with six manufacturers to make more than 150 million doses.