China, Russia to jointly counter US’ Indo-Pacific strategy

The trip, described by Xi as "one of friendship, cooperation and peace," marked his ninth visit to Russia since he first became the Chinese President in March 2013.

Beijing: Chinese President Xi Jinping concluded his state visit to Moscow on Wednesday and vowed to build “an equal, open and inclusive security system” with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to counter the Indo-Pacific strategy pursued by the US.

Xi held an intense round of discussions with Putin after which the leaders signed two joint statements to deepen their “Comprehensive Strategic Partnership of Coordination for the New Era” and “Pre-2030 Development Plan on Priorities in China-Russia Economic Cooperation”.

Xi embarked upon the 3-day Moscow trip ostensibly to broker a peace deal and end the raging conflict in Ukraine, as he sought to push a peace talks plan that elicited a frigid response from the US, Kyiv’s key ally.

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The trip, described by Xi as “one of friendship, cooperation and peace,” marked his ninth visit to Russia since he first became the Chinese President in March 2013.

The joint statement issued in Chinese and Russian languages said the two sides expressed serious concern over NATO’s continued strengthening of military security ties with the Asia-Pacific countries, which undermined regional peace and stability.

It said the two sides opposed cobbling together a closed and exclusive bloc structure in the Asia-Pacific region, creating camp confrontation, in an apparent reference to the Quad alliance comprising the US, India, Australia, Japan and AUKUS, consisting of Australia, the UK and the US.

Both sides said the US adheres to the Cold War mentality and pursues the Indo-Pacific strategy, which has a negative impact on peace and stability in the region, it said.

China and Russia are committed to building an “equal, open and inclusive security system” in the Asia-Pacific region that does not target third countries, in order to maintain regional peace, stability and prosperity, it said.

Both countries expressed serious concerns over the consequences and risks of the trilateral security partnership — AUKUS and related nuclear-powered submarine cooperation programmes on regional strategic stability, it said.

The US, India and several other world powers have been talking about the need to ensure a free, open and thriving Indo-Pacific in the backdrop of China’s rising military manoeuvring in the resource-rich region.

China is engaged in hotly contested territorial disputes in the South and East China Seas.

Beijing has also made substantial progress in militarising its man-made islands in the past few years.

On the Ukraine conflict, the joint statement said the Russian side positively assesses the objective and impartial position of the Chinese side on the issue.

Both sides oppose any country or group of countries seeking military, political and other advantages to the detriment of the legitimate security interests of other countries, a veiled dig at the US and EU, which backed Ukraine in resisting Russia’s military aggression.

Russia reiterated its commitment to restarting peace talks soon, which was appreciated by China, it said.

The Russian side welcomed China’s willingness to play an active role in resolving the crisis in Ukraine through political and diplomatic means, it said.

Significantly, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin in his media briefing on Wednesday parried questions on reports that Xi will speak to Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy through a video call to further his peace plan.

Under the China-Russia “Plan to Promote the Key Elements of Russian-Chinese Economic Cooperation until 2030,” Putin said both sides have agreed on a package of 80 important bilateral projects in various sectors worth around USD165 billion.

He said Russia is China’s strategic supplier of oil, natural gas, including LNG, coal and electricity, with Russian gas supplies poised to touch at least 98 billion cubic metres by 2030, plus 100 million tonnes of liquefied natural gas.

The relationship between the two nations is built upon trust and cooperation, with bilateral trade hitting a record high of USD 190.27 billion in 2022, up 29.3 percent year-on-year.

China has been Russia’s largest trading partner for 13 consecutive years.

During a one-on-one meeting with Putin on Monday, Xi said it is a strategic choice China has made to consolidate and develop relations with Russia based on its own fundamental interests and prevailing global trends.

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