Russia and China agree to expand security ties

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MOSCOW (UKTN) – A top Russian security official on Monday said during a visit to China that the Kremlin views strengthening ties with Beijing as a top policy goal.

Nikolai Patrushev, secretary of the National Security Council chaired by Russian President Vladimir Putin, described the “strengthening of comprehensive partnership and strategic cooperation with Beijing as an unreserved priority of Russia’s foreign policy.”

Patrushev is one of Putin’s closest associates. During a meeting with Guo Shengkun, a top official of the Chinese Communist Party, he said that “under the current circumstances, our countries should be even more ready for mutual support and development of cooperation.”

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Patrushev’s office said in a statement after talks in Nanping city that the parties have agreed to “expand information exchange on countering extremism and foreign efforts to undermine the constitutional order of both countries”. The Chinese and Russian officials also stressed the need to expand cybersecurity cooperation.

Putin met Chinese President Xi Jinping in Uzbekistan last week, their first meeting since the Russian leader sent troops to Ukraine in late February.

A Chinese government statement issued after the meeting did not specifically name Ukraine, but said Xi pledged “strong support” for Russia’s “core interests”. The statement gave no details, but Beijing uses “core interests” to describe issues such as national sovereignty and the ruling Communist Party’s claim to Taiwan, over which it is willing to wage war.

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Xi’s government, which said it had “boundless” friendship with Moscow before the February 24 invasion of Ukraine, has declined to criticize Russia’s military actions. China and India have both increased imports of Russian oil and gas, prompting Moscow to lift Western sanctions imposed over its actions in Ukraine.

During his meeting with Xi on Thursday, Putin praised the Chinese president for maintaining a “balanced” approach to the Ukrainian crisis and said he was ready to discuss Beijing’s “concerns” about Ukraine.

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Putin’s rare mention of Chinese concerns came as the impact of volatile oil prices and economic uncertainty stemming from nearly seven months of fighting in Ukraine have sparked fear in China.

Xi and Putin met on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, a security alliance created to counter US influence that also includes India, Pakistan and four ex-Soviet countries in Central Asia.

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