Russia and China agree to expand security ties

MOSCOW — A senior Russian security official said during a visit to China on Monday that the Kremlin sees strengthening ties with Beijing as a major political objective.

Nikolai Patrushev, secretary of the National Security Council chaired by Russian President Vladimir Putin, described “strengthening comprehensive partnership and strategic cooperation with Beijing as an unconditional foreign policy priority of Russia”.

Patrushev is one of Putin’s closest aides. Speaking at a meeting with Guo Shengkun, a senior official of the Chinese Communist Party, he said that “under current conditions, our countries must be even more willing to support each other and develop cooperation.”

Patrushev’s office said in a statement after the talks in Nanping city that the parties agreed “to expand information exchange on the fight against extremism and foreign attempts to undermine the constitutional order of the two country”. Chinese and Russian officials also stressed the need to expand cybersecurity cooperation.

Putin met Chinese President Xi Jinping last week in Uzbekistan, their first meeting since the Russian leader sent troops to Ukraine in late February.

A Chinese government statement released after the meeting did not specifically mention Ukraine, but said Xi pledged “strong support” for Russia’s “core interests”. The statement did not give details, but Beijing uses “core interests” to describe issues such as national sovereignty and the Communist Party’s claim to power in Taiwan, over which it is prepared to go to war.

Xi’s government, which said it had an “unlimited” friendship with Moscow before invading Ukraine on Feb. 24, has refused to criticize Russia’s military actions. China and India have both increased their imports of Russian oil and gas, helping Moscow offset Western sanctions imposed for its actions in Ukraine.

When meeting with Xi on Thursday, Putin praised the Chinese president for maintaining a “balanced” approach to the Ukraine crisis and said he was ready to discuss Beijing’s “concerns” over Ukraine.

Putin’s rare mention of Chinese concerns came as the impact of oil price volatility and economic uncertainty from nearly seven months of fighting in Ukraine has caused anxiety in China.

Xi and Putin met on the sidelines of the eight-nation Shanghai Cooperation Organization, a security alliance created to counter US influence that also includes India, Pakistan and four former Soviet countries in Central Asia.

ABC News

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