Russia & China to discuss ‘new era’ amid split with West

The announcement comes as Moscow and Beijing increase their cooperation in a number of spheres

Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping are set to declare the two countries will work shoulder to shoulder on their most important missions, Moscow has announced, as relations with the US and its allies in Europe come under increased strain.

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Kremlin foreign policy adviser Yuri Ushakov revealed that the text of a major announcement would be on the agenda for the Russian leader’s upcoming visit to China.

“A joint statement on international relations entering a new era, on global sustainable development, has been prepared in advance for the talks,” the aide revealed. “This joint statement will reflect Russia and China’s common views on the most important world problems, including security issues.”

Ushakov also set out the schedule between the leaders, adding that a “head-to-head lunch between the two heads of state is planned after the talks. This format of communication will make it possible to discuss the most important international and bilateral problems and issues as frankly and confidentially as possible.”

Putin’s foreign policy adviser also said that the president “will take part in the opening ceremony of the 24th Winter Olympic Games,” which has seen a number of nations announce a diplomatic boycott due to widespread allegations of Chinese human rights abuses against its Uighur community.

He also reiterated that Beijing and Moscow stand together against the use of sanctions and interference in their internal affairs ahead of Putin’s touchdown in China. Ushakov said the two nations have “similar and coinciding positions on a large part of international problems.”

The two nations have stressed the importance of their relations in an array of areas, including trade, energy, and defense, in the face of Western pressure in recent months. In December, Ushakov said the Chinese leader supported Russia’s attempt to gain assurances from NATO, a notable revelation given that Beijing has previously sought to distance itself from its neighbor’s problems in dealing with other European states.

“Since the chairman [Xi] specifically stated that he supports Russia’s demands for guarantees, he is naturally well aware of and understands the main issue: the concerns Russia has on its western borders,” Ushakov said following talks via video-link between the two sides. “We will keep our Chinese counterparts informed of how negotiations and contacts on this matter will unfold with our American and NATO partners.”

In December, Moscow handed over two draft treaties, one to Washington and the other to the US-led military bloc, which it says are designed at reducing the risk of conflict in Europe. Russian officials have requested that NATO refrain from any military activity on the territory of former Warsaw Pact states that joined after 1997, following the fall of the Soviet Union.

Despite the warm words and increasing co-operation, a number of influential analysts have previously suggested that the partnership between the two powers is not as deep as it appears when compared to blocs like NATO, which have pursued integration on military and intelligence-sharing matters.

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