Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping spoke on the phone Thursday, according to the Kremlin, reiterating their strong diplomatic ties while rejecting what they called "U.S. interference" in other countries' affairs.
The two also discussed creating a "multipolar, fairer world order," and how they would continue to maintain "close personal interaction" in the future, said Kremlin aide Yury Ushakov during a press briefing on Thursday.
Russia and China declared a “no limits” partnership two years ago during a visit by Putin to Beijing. That visit came just days before Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine. Ushakov said there were no plans now for any upcoming visits. The two leaders held in-person talks twice last year.
The phone call comes as both countries have faced sanctions in recent years. The U.S. and its allies have imposed sanctions on Beijing in connection with human rights abuses against the majority Muslim Uyghur population in China’s Xinjiang province. Russia was sanctioned for its February 2022 invasion of Ukraine.
The two spoke about their burgeoning economic ties with China-Russia relations being at "an unprecedentedly high level," said a Kremlin readout.
Chinese customs data show that trade between China and Russia reached $218.2 billion between January and November of 2023, meeting a goal that had originally been set for 2024, according to the Reuters news agency.
In addition to that, last year Russia passed Saudi Arabia as China's top crude oil supplier, highlighting their growing energy ties as other European countries find oil alternatives amid sanctions.
Ushakov said in the briefing that China and Russia are planning to continue joint energy projects this year. He added that Putin and Xi spoke about building "financial infrastructure that ensures reliability of payments." Both countries have increased trade using the Russian ruble and the Chinese yuan.
During the call, the two leaders discussed the war in Ukraine and growing conflict in the Middle East. According to Reuters, Ushakov said the two leaders see "eye-to-eye," on these conflicts, but that he did not elaborate.
Russia also supports China's Taiwan policies, said Ushakov.
Chinese state media issued similar comments, reporting that Xi told Putin the two countries should pursue close strategic communication to defend their sovereignty and security and oppose outside interference in their internal affairs.
Chinese state media also quoted Xi as saying, China and Russia had "weathered many storms together."
Some information for this report was provided by Reuters and Agence France-Presse.