China’s Xi meets with Russia’s top envoy in show of support vs. Western democracies

China’s Xi meets with Russia’s top envoy in show of support vs. Western democracies

BEIJING — Chinese leader Xi Jinping met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov Tuesday in a sign of mutual support and shared opposition to Western democracies amid Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

“We would like to express our highest appreciation and admiration for the successes that you have achieved over the years and, above all, over the last decade under your leadership,” Lavrov told Xi, according to Russian media.

“We are sincerely pleased with these successes, since these are the successes of friends, although not everyone in the world shares this attitude and are trying in every possible way to restrain the development of China — in fact just like the development of Russia,” Lavrov said.

Former rivals

Russia’s growing economic and diplomatic isolation has made it increasingly reliant on China, its former rival for leadership of the Communist bloc during the Cold War. In past decades, the two have closely aligned their foreign policies, held joint military exercises and sought to rally non-aligned states in groupings such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

Lavrov held a news conference earlier Tuesday with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi at which they reaffirmed solidarity in international affairs.

Lavrov said Russia and China oppose any international events that do not take Russia’s position into account.

He said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s “so-called peace formula” was “completely detached from any realities.”

Zelensky has called for the withdrawal of Russian forces and the return of all occupied Ukrainian territory, but is heavily reliant on support from the U.S., where the Republican Party majority in the House of Representatives has been holding up a new military aid package.

Blocking force

China and Russia are each others most important diplomatic partners, both holding permanent seats on the United Nations security council and working together to block initiatives by the U.S. and its allies to spread democratic values and human rights from Venezuela to Syria.

While China has not provided direct military support for Russia, it has backed it diplomatically in blaming the West for provoking Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to launch the war and refrained from calling it an invasion in deference to the Kremlin. China has also said it isn’t providing Russia with arms or military assistance, although it has maintained robust economic connections with Moscow, alongside India and other countries, amid sanctions from Washington and its allies. / AP


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