Chinese leader Xi Jinping met a top Russian lawmaker, underscoring the warm relations the nations have forged following the invasion of Ukraine.
China is willing to strengthen ties with Russia and jointly promote the development of the Belt and Road Initiative, Xi said in the meeting Wednesday with Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin of the Duma, Russia’s lower legislative house, according to state run broadcaster CCTV.
Volodin said Russia adheres to the one-China policy and firmly supports China in safeguarding territorial integrity, according to the statement.
Beijing has provided Moscow with diplomatic and economic support since Vladimir Putin ordered the attack in February 2022, support that has mitigated the effects of Western sanctions on Russia.
Last month, Chinese Premier Li Qiang told Russian counterpart Mikhail Mishustin that he wants to boost their trade and other cooperation between the nations.
Also in October, Xi reiterated to Putin in Beijing that deepening ties is not an expedient but a long-term solution. Putin was visiting for the Belt and Road Forum, which Xi touted as an alternative to the US-led world order. It was a rare trip abroad for the Russian leader after the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant against him in March for alleged war crimes in Ukraine.
The two nations have also recently reinforced their military bonds, with Zhang Youxia, vice chair of China’s top military body, and counterpart Sergei Shoigu meeting at a security forum in the Chinese capital.
Beijing has placed some limits on the relationship since Xi and Putin declared a “no limits” friendship between their nations just before the Winter Olympics in 2022. Xi hasn’t provided any major military aid to Russia that would provoke US sanctions against China, and he’s warned against both the use of nuclear weapons and attacks on civilians.
Beijing has sought to cast itself as a neutral broker on the war by releasing a blueprint for bringing peace to Ukraine in February this year, though the proposal has made little progress.
China’s exports to Russia have jumped this year, following the West severing trade ties due to the war. China has also stepped up fossil fuel imports from Russia.