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Russia, China hit out at US influence as leaders meet in Beijing ahead of Olympics

Putin and Xi issue joint statement opposing NATO expansion and American moves in the Asia-Pacific region

Chinese President Xi Jinping (right) and Russian President Vladimir Putin prior to their talks in Beijing, China, on February 4, 2022. (Alexei Druzhinin/Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)
Chinese President Xi Jinping (right) and Russian President Vladimir Putin prior to their talks in Beijing, China, on February 4, 2022. (Alexei Druzhinin/Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

Moscow and Beijing criticized what they said was negative US influence both in Europe and the Asia-Pacific region after a Friday meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping.

Putin and Xi met in Beijing ahead of the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympic Games, as both their countries face increasing criticism from Washington.

A document agreed to by Russia and China and released by the Kremlin said they “oppose the further expansion of NATO” and call on the US-led defense bloc to abandon “Cold War era” approaches.

The talks between the Russian and Chinese leaders came as Moscow faces a diplomatic stand-off with the United States over Ukraine, demanding that NATO curb its eastward expansion.

Russia said it wants NATO to guarantee that it will not admit new members, especially Ukraine, and that Washington will not establish new military bases in ex-Soviet countries.

In the document, Moscow and Beijing also criticized Washington’s “negative impact on peace and stability” in the Asia-Pacific region.

It said they were “seriously concerned” by the AUKUS defense alliance including Australia, Britain and the United States, especially their cooperation on nuclear submarines.

“Russia and China believe that such actions are contrary to the tasks of ensuring the security and sustainable development” of the Asia-Pacific region and “increase the danger of the start of an arms race.”

The AUKUS partnership announced last September will see Australia acquire nuclear-powered submarines using US technology, and sparked sharp criticism from Beijing.

Also on Friday, Russia and China signed strategic agreements, including energy deals.

Russian energy giant Rosneft and Chinese oil group CNPC signed a contract for the supply of 100 million tonnes of oil to China via Central Asian Kazakhstan over 10 years.

Rosneft said it is Beijing’s leading oil supplier, accounting for 7 percent of China’s total demand annually.

CNPC also signed a contract with Russia’s Gazprom for the supply of natural gas.

Once at full capacity, the supply volume “will increase by 10 billion cubic meters and will reach 48 billion meters per year in total,” Gazprom said.

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