China’s Xi Says Putin Re-Election ‘Fully Reflects’ Support Of Russian People

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Chinese President Xi Jinping sent a congratulatory message to Vladimir Putin on Monday, telling his Russian counterpart his re-election “fully reflects the support of the Russian people”, Beijing’s state media reported.

With 99 percent of polling stations having submitted results, Putin had secured 87.33 percent of all votes cast, official election data showed Monday, according to state news agency RIA.

It was a record victory for Putin in a presidential election where he faced no genuine competition, with the polls criticised by several Western nations as neither free nor fair.

“Your re-election fully reflects the support of the Russian people for you,” Xi told Putin, according to state broadcaster CCTV.

“In recent years, the Russian people have united as one to overcome challenges and move forward steadily on the road to national development and revitalisation,” Xi reportedly said.

“I believe that under your leadership, Russia will be able to achieve greater achievements in national development and construction,” he said.

“China attaches great importance to the development of China-Russia relations and is willing to maintain close communication with Russia to promote the sustained, healthy, stable and in-depth development of (bilateral ties),” Xi said.

‘Build up’ relations

Putin heaped praise on key ally Beijing on Monday, saying he was “sure that in the coming years we will only strengthen and build up our relations and achieve common successes for the benefit of the Chinese and Russian peoples”, Russian state news agency TASS reported.

“The most important thing is the coincidence of state interests. This creates a very good tone for solving common problems in the field of international relations,” Putin was reported as saying.

“The structure of China’s economy is changing towards innovation,” he said. “We face exactly the same tasks in Russia.”

Once socialist allies, China and Russia endured a tempestuous relationship during the later decades of the last century but have drawn closer of late as their burgeoning friendship has come to represent a bulwark against the US-led West.

The close ties have deepened even as Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine has roiled Moscow’s relations with Western nations, and China has pointedly refused to condemn its ally’s attack on its European neighbour.

Western countries have argued that China’s equivocation has given Putin much-needed political and diplomatic cover to wage an unprovoked war of aggression on Kyiv.

‘Dear friend’ Putin

Both leaders have previously hailed the strength of their personal friendship, having both reshaped their respective countries in their own images during protracted tenures at the helm.

Xi last October welcomed his “dear friend” Putin to Beijing, where the Russian president was the guest of honour at a multilateral summit.

The Chinese leader said that “political mutual trust between the two countries is continuously deepening”, hailing their “close and effective strategic coordination”.

Xi noted that he had met with Putin 42 times in the past decade, saying they had “developed a good working relationship and a deep friendship”.

AFP

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