Xi and Putin in joint push to forge stronger Sino-Russian ties

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 14 May, 2017, 11:42pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 14 May, 2017, 11:42pm

President Xi Jinping used talks with his Russian counterpart on Sunday to push for stronger ties “in all circumstances”, as Beijing and Moscow pursue a united front on key global issues.

Xi pressed the cause as he met Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of a forum for the “Belt and Road Initiative” in the Chinese capital.

The two-day forum, attended by 29 heads of state and government, has become a springboard for Xi to promote his vision for ­globalisation and meet foreign leaders.

Xi Jinping rolls out global welcome mat for new Silk Road grand plan

“Developing and deepening Sino-Russian relations is the strategic choice of both countries,” state-run Xinhua quoted Xi as ­saying.

“No matter how the international situation changes, both of us will try our best to develop and safeguard bilateral relations.”

Putin also highlighted the changing international political landscape, underscoring the need to work with China and voicing Russia’s support for the China-led trade initiative.

“The timing for this forum is quite good considering the ongoing complicated developments in the world in general and in global economy in particular,” Putin said, according to a statement from the Kremlin.

“More than ever, we need new ... mechanisms ... to open doors to each other, eliminate barriers and obstacles in our cooperation – ­primarily, in the economy.”

Check out our visual explainer of the five main projects of China’s Belt and Road Initiative

China and Russia have a track record of joining forces against the United States in global arenas, including vetoing a US-backed United Nations Security Council resolution on Syria.

The belt and road plan is part of Beijing’s drive to promote ­globalisation as uncertainties mount in the US and Europe.

Indonesia has also signalled its interest in the initiative, with ­Indonesian President Joko ­Widodo meeting Xi on the ­forum’s sidelines on Sunday.

Xi also met Kazakhstan’s ­President Nursultan Nazarbayev, Xinhua reported.

On Saturday, Xi told Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that China and Turkey should forge stronger links to fight terrorism amid Chinese concern about ethnic Uygurs from Xinjiang region joining forces with militants to fight in the Middle East.

Xi told Erdogan that it was in both countries’ interests to ­develop strategic cooperation, the foreign ministry said.

“China and Turkey must respect and give consideration to each other’s core concerns, and deepen security and counterterrorism cooperation,” the ministry quoted Xi as saying.

Beijing says some Uygurs end up fighting with Islamist militants in Iraq and Syria.

Syria’s ambassador to China said last week that up to 5,000 ­Uygurs were fighting in various militant groups in Syria.

Additional reporting by Reuters