Putin, Xi present united front on NATO expansion at Olympics

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping, right.
Alexei Druzhinin, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday met before the start of the Olympics, issuing a joint statement showing a united front against the expansion of NATO.

As Russia has amassed thousands of troops on the Ukrainian border, it has demanded Ukraine not be let into NATO and for Western countries to remove military equipment in eastern Europe. China echoed those sentiments on Friday. 

“The parties oppose the further expansion of NATO, [and] call on the North Atlantic Alliance to abandon the ideological approaches of the Cold War,” the joint statement from the two leaders said, The Associated Press reported

The statement also addressed Taiwan, declaring the democratically-ruled island part of China and denouncing calls for its independence. 

The statement from the leaders did not single out any country by name, but the U.S. and Western allies have shown support for Taiwan and have been vocal about rejecting Russia’s terms regarding Ukraine and NATO expansion. 

“Some forces representing a minority on the world stage continue to advocate unilateral approaches to resolving international problems and resort to military policy,” the statement says.

Along with showing support for the top issues the two countries are facing with the international community, Putin and Xi reaffirmed the cordial relationship between the nations. 

Chinese state media reported Xi saying in the meeting that the countries “strongly support each other” in a “complex and evolving international situation” that involves “regional security threats” and “international strategic stability,” according to the AP.

Putin said Russia’s current close relationship with China is “unprecedented” and is “developing in a progressive way with a spirit of friendship and strategic partnership.”

Putin is one of the highest-profile political leaders at the Olympics as the U.S. and some Western allies are holding a diplomatic boycott of the event due to China’s human rights abuses against ethnic minorities. 

Tags Beijing China-Taiwan tension NATO Russia Ukraine Vladimir Putin Winter Olympics Xi Jinping

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