Russia, China hit out at US influence in Europe and Asia

US troops deploy for Europe from Fort Bragg, North Carolina, on Feb 3, 2022. PHOTO: AFP

BEIJING (AFP) – Moscow and Beijing criticised what they said was negative US influence both in Europe and the Asia-Pacific region after a Friday (Feb 4) meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping.

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

Talks between the Russian and Chinese leaders come as Moscow is in a diplomatic stand-off with the United States over Ukraine, demanding that NATO curb its eastwards 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 criticised Washington’s “negative impact on peace and stability” in the Asia-Pacific region.

It said they were “seriously concerned” by the AUKUS defence 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 Canberra acquire nuclear-powered submarines using US technology, and sparked sharp criticism from Beijing.

Also on Friday, the two countries 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 says it is Beijing’s leading oil supplier, accounting for 7 per cent 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 metres and will reach 48 billion metres per year in total”, Gazprom said.

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