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Friends indeed: Putin thanks China for “balanced position” on the war in Ukraine when he meets with Xi

In a loud display of diplomatic support, Russian Vladimir Putin and Chinese Xi Jinping met face to face for the first time since Moscow invaded Ukraine and attacked the West over the war and the Taiwan issue.

The two leaders met in the ancient Uzbek city of the Silk Road, Samarkand, at the summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), a grouping of largely authoritarian states seen by some as a growing rival to the Western bloc.

Putin thanks China for its “balanced position” on Ukraine during his meeting with Xi

(SPUTNIK / AFP via Getty Images)

Putin told the Chinese president that Moscow backed Beijing’s “one China” policy, opposed “provocations” by the United States in the Taiwan Strait, and said Russia valued China’s “balanced position” vis-à-vis Ukraine.

This is Xi’s first trip outside of China since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a televised speech opening the bilateral meeting, Putin told Xi: “We highly value the balanced position of our Chinese friends when it comes to the crisis in Ukraine. We understand your questions and concern about it. In today’s meeting, we will of course explain our position. “

Vladimir Putin backed Chinese leader Xi Jinping in his first face-to-face meeting since the war in Ukraine

(AP)

Russia has moved closer to China since sending its armed forces to Ukraine in February, triggering an unprecedented wave of Western sanctions against Moscow.

Putin also backed Beijing’s key positions in this brief public statement, bringing both countries closer to what analysts see as a fledgling anti-American and anti-Western alliance.

Putin responded to Beijing’s insistence that other countries should not recognize Taiwan, the self-governing island that Beijing considers part of China, as an independent state.

“We intend to stick firmly to the One China principle,” Putin said.

He added that the Russians “condemn the provocations by the United States and its satellites in the Taiwan Strait,” which is a possible reference to US Navy warships sailing in international waters in the Taiwan Strait on August 27.

On Thursday, Xi Jinping met Putin in the ancient Uzbek city of the Silk Road, Samarkand

(via REUTERS)

The United States does not have formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan, but is legally obligated to provide the island with the means of defense.

China has never ruled out the use of force to seize control of Taiwan.

“In the face of changes in the world, our time and history, China is ready to work with Russia to play a leading role in demonstrating the responsibility of the major powers and instill stability and positive energy in a world in chaos, Xi told Putin.

China conducted a blockade-style military exercise around Taiwan after US Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi visited the island last month. The Taiwan government firmly rejects China’s claim to sovereignty.

“We intend to stick firmly to the One China principle,” Putin said. “We condemn the provocations of the United States and its satellites in the Taiwan Strait.”

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