China and Russia strengthen alliance against Western powers

Russia and China proclaimed Tuesday that they opened a "new era" in their relations and highlighted their identity of positions against the Western powers, which seek to isolate Russia because of the war in Ukraine and increase its presence in Asia.

"We have signed a declaration that reinforces our strategic partnership and our relationships entering a new era"declared the Chinese president, Xi Jinping, after meeting in Moscow with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin.

After the summit, Putin expressed prudent support for Chinese proposals to find a negotiated solution to the conflict in Ukraine, which began almost thirteen months ago with the invasion of Russian troops in that country.

"Many points of the peace plan proposed by China (…) can serve as the basis for a peaceful solution, when the West and kyiv are ready for it. But we do not see for the moment disposition on his part"declared the Russian president.

China actively mediated the recent diplomatic reconciliation between Saudi Arabia and Iran, but analysts say it will be difficult to achieve a cessation of hostilities in the former Soviet republic.

The United States, however, said it does not see China as a mediator. "impartial" between Moscow and kyiv.

"I don’t think China can be considered reasonably impartial, in any way"White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said Tuesday in Washington’s most direct criticism to date of Beijing’s efforts to end the conflict.

Ukrainian President Volodimir Zelenski, for his part, assured that he invited China to talk and that until now he is waiting "an answer".

Zelensky announced that he will participate in May by videoconference in the G7 summit of Western powers in the Japanese city of Hiroshima, at the invitation of Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who visited the war-torn country on Tuesday.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) announced Tuesday night a $15.6 billion aid plan for Ukraine.

energy agreement

The Moscow statement stresses that Russia and China "are very concerned about the increasing strengthening of ties between NATO and the countries of the Asia-Pacific region in relation to military and security issues" and accuse the Atlantic Alliance of "undermine regional peace and stability".

It also denounces "the negative influence of the United States strategy guided by a Cold War mentality (…) on peace and stability in that region".

China had already denounced last week the "wrong and dangerous way" which in his eyes opens the agreement signed by Australia with the United States and the United Kingdom (AUKUS) to equip itself with nuclear-powered submarines.

On the other hand, after the meeting with Xi, Putin announced that both countries reached an agreement to build a gigantic gas pipeline that will take gas from the Siberian region to northwestern China, a project known as Siberian Force 2.

According to Putin, when the pipeline comes into service it will be able to route "50,000 million cubic meters of gas" towards the Asian giant.

Russia – under Western sanctions for the offensive in Ukraine – seeks to reorient its hydrocarbon production and the energy demand of the Asian giant, the world’s second largest economy, seems to offer excellent prospects.

Support for Putin, wanted by the ICC

Xi’s visit to Moscow is also a personal endorsement for Putin, who has been subject to an arrest warrant from the International Criminal Court (ICC) since last week on charges of illegal deportation of Ukrainian children, considered war crimes.

Xi indicated that he had invited his Russian counterpart to China, "this year when i can".

Putin assured that both countries have "many common goals" and praised China for its "fair and balanced position on the most pressing international issues".

For his part, Xi stated that China is "ready to stand firmly on the side of Russia" for the sake of a "true multilateralism".

Moscow and Beijing have strengthened their cooperation in recent years, united by a desire to counter US influence on the international scene.

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