Vladimir Putin met Xi Jinping on a rare foreign trip to Beijing last October. (File)

Moscow:

Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin accused the United States of “interfering” in their countries’ affairs in a phone call on Thursday, the Kremlin said.

The West has watched Moscow and Beijing, both of which seek to expand their global influence, with increasing concern over the past two years as they expand their trade and defense ties.

Xi and Putin denounced the “US policy of interference in the internal affairs of other states” in an hour-long phone call, the Kremlin said.

“The leaders of both countries are clear that the United States is effectively implementing a policy of double containment against both Russia and China,” said Kremlin adviser Yuri Ushakov.

Moscow has viewed Beijing as a crucial economic lifeline since the West imposed unprecedented sanctions on Russia over its military attack on Ukraine.

China now benefits from cheap Russian energy imports and access to vast natural resources, including steady gas supplies via the Power of Siberia pipeline.

Trade between the two countries has risen sharply in the past two years and will reach $240.1 billion in 2023, according to Chinese customs data – an annual increase of 26 percent.

‘No limits’

Beijing and Moscow declared a “borderless” partnership days before Russia launched its large-scale military attack on Ukraine, and the two have expanded their ties even as most Western countries have turned their backs on Moscow.

China itself has been criticized, particularly by the United States, over a range of sensitive issues, including increasingly belligerent behavior toward self-ruled, democratic Taiwan, which Beijing claims as its territory.

“When discussing the situation in the Asia-Pacific region, the Russian president reiterated his principled position on the Taiwan issue, which is to support the ‘One China’ policy,” the Kremlin said in its statement on the call.

Xi said the two “should strategically cooperate closely, defend the sovereignty, security and development interests of their respective countries, and resolutely oppose interference by external forces in domestic affairs,” according to a report on Chinese state broadcaster CCTV.

According to the Kremlin, the Chinese leader also wished Putin all the best for his upcoming presidential election.

“Xi said he knows that Russia is now in the middle of an election campaign and wants the upcoming elections in March to be successful,” Ushakov said.

Putin, isolated from most Western countries because of the conflict in Ukraine, met Xi on a rare foreign trip to Beijing last October.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

Source : www.ndtv.com

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