Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping met Wednesday via video conference, stressing their strong alliance amid both countries’ deteriorating relations with the west.
“A new model of cooperation has been formed between our countries, based, among other things, on such principles as non-interference in internal affairs, respect for each other's interests, and determination to turn our common border into a "belt" of eternal peace and good neighborliness,” Putin told Xi.
The Russian president also said he looked forward to seeing Xi in February at the Beijing Winter Olympic Games and added, “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."
Several western nations, led by the United States, have chosen not send diplomats or other government officials to the games in protest of China’s human rights record.
Both Russia and China have faced the threat of Western sanctions amid rising diplomatic tensions. Russia is currently in a tense stand-off with the European Union and NATO over its buildup of troops on the border with Ukraine.
Ahead of the Xi-Putin meeting, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters the two leaders would discuss tensions in Europe and "aggressive" U.S. and NATO rhetoric.
Meanwhile, China and the U.S. have exchanged strong words regarding China’s treatment of ethnic Uyghurs and its recent apparent military efforts to intimidate Taiwan
Also, during Wednesday’s virtual meeting, Putin praised Xi and China for its cooperation in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, noting six Chinese manufacturers had signed contracts to produce 150 million doses of Russia’s Sputnik COVID vaccines.