China and Russia announce alliance in warning to NATO and US allies

Russia’s Vladimir Putin and China’s Xi Jinping issued a joint statement highlighting what it called 'interference in the internal affairs' of other states in a thinly veiled reference to the US and its allies.

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The leaders of Russia and China have declared their opposition to any expansion of NATO and affirming that Taiwan is a part of China in a pushed back against the US.

Russia’s Vladimir Putin and China’s Xi Jinping issued a joint statement highlighting what it called “interference in the internal affairs” of other states, as both leaders face criticism from the US over their foreign and domestic policies.

“Some forces representing a minority on the world stage continue to advocate unilateral approaches to resolving international problems and resort to military policy,” the statement read in a thinly veiled reference to the US and its allies.

China growingly shows support for Moscow in its dispute with Ukraine that threatens to break out into armed conflict.

China and Russia are committed to “deepening back-to-back strategic cooperation”, Mr Xi was quoted as telling Mr Putin.

“This is a strategic decision that has far-reaching influence on China, Russia and the world,” Mr Xi said, according to the official Xinhua News Agency.

President Putin is the highest-profile guest at the Beijing Games following the decision by the US, Britain and others not to send officials in protest of China’s human rights abuses and its treatment of Uyghur Muslims and other Muslim minorities.

Mr Putin praised “unprecedented” close relations with China, in his opening remarks to Mr Xi carried by Russian television.

Relations “are developing in a progressive way with a spirit of friendship and strategic partnership”, the President said.

“They have indeed become unprecedented.”

Mr Putin highlighted close economic ties, including a new contract to supply China with 10 billion cubic metres of gas per year from eastern Russian.

“For our meeting today, our oilmen have prepared very good new solutions for the supply of hydrocarbons to the People’s Republic of China, and another step forward has been taken in the gas industry,” Mr Putin said.

Russia has long been a key supplier of oil, gas and coal for China’s massive economy, now the world’s second largest, along with food stuffs and other raw materials.

China’s state-run news agency reported the two leaders met at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse on Friday afternoon, but gave no details.

They did not appear to shake hands when greeting each other due to Covid-19 precautions.

The discussions mark their first in-person meeting since 2019 and come as China and Russia increasingly align their foreign policies bilaterally and in world bodies such as the United Nations, in opposition to the Western bloc and other major powers.

Leaders of the five ex-Soviet Central Asian nations, which have close ties with both Russia and China, all followed Mr Putin’s lead in attending the Olympics opening, along with other states that have political and economic interests with Beijing.

A buildup of more than 100,000 Russian troops near Ukraine has fuelled Western fears that Moscow is poised to invade its neighbour.

Russia has denied planning an offensive but urged the US and its allies to provide a binding pledge that Nato will not expand to Ukraine and other ex-Soviet nations or deploy weapons there, and roll back its forces from Eastern Europe, demands firmly rejected by the West.