Samarkand (Uzbekistan) – Russia greatly appreciates the balanced attitude that Beijing has adopted towards the “crisis in Ukraine”, Russian President Vladimir Putin told his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping today. According to Putin, Russian-Chinese cooperation plays a key role in ensuring stability. Xi Jinping then assured Putin that China is willing to ally with Russia against the US and other Western countries with which both Beijing and Moscow have strained relations. Politicians gathered on the sidelines of the two-day summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in Uzbekistan.
“We greatly value the balanced position that our Chinese friends have taken on the Ukrainian crisis. We also understand your questions and concerns. We will of course explain our position at today’s meeting,” Putin said, according to Reuters. In its public statements regarding the Russian invasion of Ukraine, China tends to side with Russia, although it has not yet reached out for direct military or financial support.
The Chinese president today assured Putin, according to the Kyodo agency, that China is ready to “deepen strong mutual support on issues that concern the main interests of both countries.” In addition, Xi Jinping said, according to TASS, that Beijing wants to play a leading role alongside Moscow in trying to “direct the very rapidly changing world to the path of sustainable and beneficial development”.
Putin also talked about the joint effort of Russia and China to create a “just world order” and criticized the “unipolar world” with an obvious reference to the USA. He described the foreign policy tandem of Moscow and Beijing as a model of international cooperation, which, according to him, plays a “key role in ensuring global and regional stability.”
The statesmen thus ensured mutual support at a time when both Russia and China have strained relations with the US and the rest of the West, noted DPA. Moscow is struggling with economic sanctions imposed by Western countries after the outbreak of war in Ukraine. Beijing has seen a significant deterioration in its relations with the United States, Europe and Japan due to China’s maneuvers in the Taiwan Strait.
Tensions between China and Taiwan, which Beijing considers a rebel province, have risen following visits to the island in August by US lawmakers, including US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. China responded to this trip with the largest military exercise to date in the vicinity of the island and diplomatic steps.
“No country has the right to be a judge in the Taiwan issue,” the Chinese president said today, according to Kyodo. According to the agency, his remark was aimed at the US. Putin then assured the Chinese leader that Moscow supports the one-China policy and rejects “provocations” by the United States in the Taiwan Strait.
Xi and Putin met face-to-face today for the first time since the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, Reuters reports. In this context, the Russian president said that “a lot has happened since then”, but the unchanging thing remains “the friendship between China and Russia”. For the Chinese president, the summit in Samarkand, Uzbekistan’s second largest city, is the first foreign trip since the beginning of the covid-19 pandemic.
Putin considers it possible to supply Russian gas to Pakistan through a new pipeline
Russian President Vladimir Putin said today that supplies of Russian gas to Pakistan are possible. According to him, part of the gas pipeline infrastructure already exists, but the instability of Afghanistan needs to be ended.
“Gas supplies from Russia to Pakistan through the pipeline are possible, given that part of the infrastructure in Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan is already ready,” Putin said, according to TASS, after meeting with Pakistani Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit, which takes place in Samarkand, the second largest city of Uzbekistan. “We have to solve the problem with Afghanistan,” Putin added.
Not only Russia, but also some countries in Central Asia are trying to get the possibility of supplying their gas to the Indian subcontinent. However, the implementation of the projects is hindered by political instability in Afghanistan and complex geographical conditions.
Russia is also interested in the construction of a gas pipeline in Pakistan, which should transport gas from the port of Karachi to the province of Punjab in the northeast of the country. The project, called Pakistan Stream, was agreed by both governments in 2015, but its implementation has not yet started, among other things due to difficulties caused by anti-Russian sanctions.
Russia is trying to diversify its gas exports, but is running into insufficient infrastructure. Exports to the European Union, which is the main buyer of Russian gas, will fall by a third this year due to the war in Ukraine, according to Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak. Conversely, exports to China show growth.
Putin said last week that Russia is negotiating the construction of another gas pipeline to China, which should lead through Mongolian territory. It is a gas pipeline project called Power of Siberia 2, which should deliver up to 50 billion cubic meters of gas per year. Its capacity would thus be close to the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline, which can transport up to 55 billion cubic meters annually.
Nord Stream 1 runs from Russia to Germany along the bottom of the Baltic Sea and is the main route for Russian gas supplies to the European Union. However, it has been out of service since the end of August, which Moscow explains is due to technical problems and the impact of Western sanctions.
Mongolian President Ukhnágin Chürelsüch today supported the construction of a pipeline for transporting gas and oil from Russia through Mongolia to China. However, no plans for an oil pipeline leading from Russia through Mongolia have yet been officially proposed, Reuters pointed out.
Cooperation will strengthen countries under US sanctions, Raisi told Putin
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi told his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin today that cooperation will strengthen countries on which the US has imposed sanctions, writes the AFP agency. Meanwhile, Putin announced that representatives of 80 major Russian companies will visit Iran next week, RIA Novosti reported.
“Relations between countries facing US sanctions, such as Iran, Russia or others, can (help) them overcome many problems and strengthen them,” Raisi said today while meeting with Putin in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, where the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit began ( SCO). It brings together China, Russia, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, India and Pakistan. Chinese President Xi Jinping and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan are among the participants of the two-day summit. Turkey is a partner country of the SCO.
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahyan announced today that Iran has signed a memorandum of commitments to become a permanent member of the SCO. The Reuters agency writes in this context that Iran wants to get out of the economic isolation in which it finds itself under the influence of American sanctions.
“The presidents will discuss both the bilateral agenda and major regional and international issues,” Putin’s foreign policy adviser Yuri Ushakov told reporters in Moscow on Tuesday. According to him, the presidents will talk about Ukraine and Taiwan.
Even before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Putin and Xi announced in Beijing the conclusion of a large-scale strategic partnership aimed at countering the influence of the United States. They said at the time that their countries would have “no ‘forbidden’ areas of cooperation”. However, observers say Beijing’s attitude towards Moscow is now cooler after six months of Russia’s war in Ukraine.
Russia Uzbekistan Iran President Diplomacy Economy Sanctions