Russian President Vladimir Putin is seeking to boost military cooperation with China as Russia steps away from the West and its war with Ukraine continues.
Putin said in opening remarks during a video conference with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday that he expects Jinping to make a state visit to Russia in the spring, which he said would demonstrate to the world the strength of Russian-Chinese ties on major issues, Reuters reported.
Putin said that he and Xi share the same views on the “causes, course and logic of the ongoing transformation of the global geopolitical landscape” despite pressure from the West.
The two leaders have increased ties between their countries throughout their tenures, issuing a joint statement in February to show a united front against NATO in February, just ahead of the Olympics and shortly before Russia invaded Ukraine.
China has backed Russia’s position that Ukraine should not be let into NATO, but it has formally remained neutral in the conflict, at least in part seeking to avoid sanctions that the West has issued since the start of the war. China has called for peace in the conflict.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has increased fears about China’s aspirations toward Taiwan, a self-governing democratic island that the Chinese government recognizes as part of the mainland. Putin declared Taiwan as part of China in the February statement.
China has also stepped up its military drills near Taiwan over the past few months as the war has lingered.
Xi told Putin in his statement that China was prepared to increase its strategic cooperation with Russia amid a “difficult” situation throughout the world, Reuters reported.