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Russia puts rapprochement with China as foreign policy priority

A top Russian security official said yesterday, during a visit to China, that the Kremlin has made strengthening relations with Beijing one of its main political goals.

Nikolai Patrushev, secretary of the National Security Council, described “strengthening the comprehensive partnership and strategic cooperation with Beijing as an unconditional priority of Russia’s foreign policy.”

Patrushev – who is one of the closest figures to Russian President Vladimir Putin – was speaking during a meeting with Guo Shengkun, a top official of the Communist Party of China, to whom he conveyed the message that the two countries “must show an even greater readiness for mutual support and the development of cooperation in the present circumstances”.

In a statement, Patrushev’s office said China and Russia had agreed to “expand information exchanges on combating extremism and foreign attempts to undermine constitutional order.”

The Chinese and Russian authorities also underlined the need to expand cooperation on cybersecurity, as well as strengthen contacts between their counter-terrorism agencies.

Today’s meeting comes a week after Putin spoke face-to-face with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, in Uzbekistan, at the first summit between the two countries since the Russian leader decided to invade Ukraine.

A Chinese government statement issued after the summit did not specifically mention Ukraine, but clarified that Xi had pledged “strong support” to Russia’s “core interests”.

Beijing uses the term “core interests” to describe issues such as national sovereignty and the Chinese Communist Party’s claim to Taiwan.

Even before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Xi had promised an “unlimited” friendship with Moscow, refusing to criticize Russia’s military actions.

In recent months, China and India have increased Russian oil and gas imports, helping Moscow offset Western sanctions.

During the summit with Xi last Thursday, Putin praised the Chinese president for maintaining a “balanced” approach to the invasion of Ukraine and said he was available to discuss Beijing’s “concerns” about this conflict.

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Generalist media, focusing on the relationship between Portuguese-speaking countries and China.

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