China promises its ‘firm support’ for Russia’s ‘core interests’

China and Russia sign agreements on investment co-operation in trade services, the export of Russian agricultural products to China and sports co-operation

Xi Jinping has promised China’s firm support for Russia’s “core interests”, calling for new economic links and stronger co-operation on the international stage. The Chinese president was speaking in Beijing during a meeting with Russian prime minister Mikhail Mishustin, the most senior figure in the Kremlin to visit China since Russia invaded Ukraine last year.

“China and Russia should continue to firmly support each other on issues concerning their respective core interests, and strengthen co-ordination on multilateral arenas such as the United Nations, the Shanghai Co-operation Organisation, Brics and the G20,” Mr Xi said.

“The two sides should further tap the potential to raise the levels of economic, trade and investment co-operation, improve bilateral co-operation institutions and mechanisms, consolidate and expand energy and connectivity co-operation, and create more new growth points.”

During the visit, China and Russia signed agreements on investment co-operation in trade services, the export of Russian agricultural products to China and sports co-operation. In response to Mr Xi, Mr Mishustin said Russia was ready to work with China “to promote multipolarisation in the world and consolidate the international order based on international law”.


The Chinese account of the meeting did not say if Mr Xi and Mr Mishustin discussed the war in Ukraine. China’s envoy, Li Hui, is in Europe this week for meetings about how to find a peaceful resolution to the war.

Mr Xi’s display of solidarity with Russia follows last week’s China-Central Asia summit in Xi’an which saw Beijing deepen ties with five former Soviet republics that have strong links to Moscow. Russia has offered a tepid response to China’s peacemaking efforts and Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told the Russian news agency Tass on Wednesday that it was too early to talk about a peaceful resolution of the war.

“No prerequisites for a peace process are yet in place, evidently. The special military operation continues,” he said.

Trade between Russia and China trade hit a record $190 billion (€176 billion) last year and Mr Mishustin said during a meeting with Chinese premier Li Xiang that it would grow further this year.

“Today, relations between Russia and China are at an unprecedented high level,” he said. “They are characterised by mutual respect of each other’s interests, the desire to jointly respond to challenges, which is associated with increased turbulence in the international arena and the pattern of sensational pressure from the collective West.”

Beijing has rejected calls from western powers to distance itself from Moscow and Mr Xi visited the Russian capital in March. Mr Putin has been invited to Beijing but the Kremlin said on Wednesday that no date had been set for the visit.

“China is willing to work with Russia to implement the joint co-operation between the two countries, and promoting pragmatic co-operation in various fields can take it to a new level,” Mr Li said.

Denis Staunton

Denis Staunton

Denis Staunton is China Correspondent of The Irish Times