President Xi: China willing to work with Russia on ‘core interests’

SAMARKAND (AFP): China’s President Xi Jinping told his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin that Beijing was willing to work with Moscow to support each other’s “core interests”, state media reported Thursday, as the two leaders met at a summit in Uzbekistan.

“China is willing to work with Russia to strongly support issues concerning each other’s core interests, and deepen practical cooperation on trade, agriculture, connectivity and other fields,” Chinese state broadcaster CCTV reported Xi as saying.

Xi and Putin met at a Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in the Uzbek city of Samarkand, a stop on the ancient Silk Road.

The SCO is made up of China, Russia, India, Pakistan and four Central Asian countries — Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.

It is Xi’s first trip overseas since the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the first time he has met Putin in person since Russia invaded Ukraine in February.

China and Russia should “strengthen coordination and cooperation within multilateral frameworks” such as the SCO and the BRICS group of emerging economies, Xi said, according to CCTV.

The two sides should “promote solidarity and mutual trust among all parties, expand practical cooperation, safeguard the security interests of the region, and safeguard the common interests of developing countries and emerging market countries”, he reportedly said.

In earlier remarks, Xi told Putin that Beijing was willing to work with Moscow as “great powers”, adding that China was ready to “play a guiding role to inject stability and positive energy into a world rocked by social turmoil”.