China’s Xi Jinping and Russia’s Putin talk about geopolitics in a video call

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Russian President Vladimir Putin (Vladimir Putin) sits in his office at the official residence of New Ogaryovo during a bilateral meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping (on a video screen) via a video call.

Mikhail Metzer | TASS | Getty Images

BEIJING-On Wednesday, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin held a second dedicated video call this year. The international community is increasingly concerned about the tensions on the Russian-Ukrainian border.

According to Reuters, a Kremlin official stated that Putin’s efforts to obtain security assurances from the West that are binding on Russia have won the support of Xi Jinping.

Russia hopes that the United States and NATO will guarantee that the military alliance will not expand further east, nor will it deploy weapon systems in other countries along the border between Ukraine and Russia.

According to the Russian state news agency TASS, Putin also called Xi Jinping his “dear friend” and said that the relationship between the two countries has reached an “unprecedented high level.”

According to Chinese official media reports, the video call between the two leaders lasted more than an hour, from 4:07 pm to 5:21 pm Beijing time. As of Wednesday evening Beijing time, there are few other details about the conference call.

The last time Xi Jinping and Putin met was in late June, also via a video link. Earlier this year, as part of the ceremony to launch the nuclear power reactor project, the two leaders met via video. As the United States withdrew and the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan, Putin and Xi Jinping also talked over the phone in August.

According to Reuters, before the virtual meeting, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov stated that the two leaders would discuss tensions in Europe and described the two countries as “allies.”

According to a Reuters report, the spokesperson said: “We have seen NATO and the US’s very, very radical rhetoric. This requires us to discuss with the Chinese.”

NATO members — a powerful military alliance — vowed in June to respond to threats from China and Russia.

In a virtual meeting with US President Joe Biden last week, Putin stated that Washington should not allow Ukraine to join NATO in exchange for assurances that the Russian army will not launch an attack.

Biden said that Washington would not accept such a request.

An attack on one NATO member state is considered an attack on all member states. Ukraine has wanted to join the alliance since 2002, but Russia opposed it on the grounds that the move would pose a direct threat to its borders.

It is not yet clear what Beijing’s position on Ukraine is. According to the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Xi Jinping had a phone conversation with Ukrainian President Zelensky in July.

Read more about China from CNBC Pro

The leaders of the Group of Seven nations issued a statement on Sunday condemning “Russia’s military buildup and aggressive remarks against Ukraine”. The United States, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United Kingdom are part of the major economies.

China is not a member of the Group of Seven. The country has a long border with Russia, and most of their bilateral relations are focused on trade, especially in the energy sector. This year, China purchased large amounts of coal and other fuels from its northern neighbors to help alleviate coal shortages.

According to Chinese state media reports, Xi Jinping said on Wednesday that he is looking forward to seeing Putin at the Beijing Olympics and opening a new chapter in Sino-Russian relations.

The Olympics are scheduled to start in early February. Biden has announced a diplomatic boycott, but athletes can still participate.

— CNBC Abigail Wu Contributed to this report.


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