Russian President Vladimir Putin Thursday praised China’s Xi Jinping for his “balanced” stance on the conflict in Ukraine and scolded the United States for what the Kremlin chief said were provocations about Taiwan.
Xi, on his first trip outside of China since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, met Putin in the ancient Uzbek Silk Road city of Samarkand, where they will attend a Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit.
At their first face-to-face meeting since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began, Putin praised Xi for his stance on the war in Ukraine, but also said he understood Beijing had “questions and concerns” about the conflict.
China has refrained from condemning the Russian operation against Ukraine or calling it an “invasion” in line with the Kremlin, which portrays the war as “a special military operation”.
“We value the balanced position of our Chinese friends when it comes to the crisis in Ukraine,” Putin said. “We understand your questions and concerns about this. We will of course explain our position during today’s meeting.”
Putin explicitly supported China over Taiwan.
China held blockade-style military exercises around Taiwan after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited the island last month. The government of Taiwan strongly rejects China’s sovereignty claims.
“We intend to stick to the ‘One China’ principle,” Putin said. “We condemn provocations by the United States and its satellites in the Taiwan Strait.”
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