China says trade with Russia will hit new highs in the coming months

Chinese President Xi Jinping spoke on Friday through a video at St. The plenary session of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, opened by Russian President Vladimir Putin with a speech, lasted more than an hour. This photo is from Putin’s visit to Beijing in early February 2022.

Alexey Druzhinin AFP | Getty Images

BEIJING – Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday, he stressed his country’s commitment to trade with russia, despite western sanctions against moscow over its invasion of ukraine.

“Today is our cooperation between Russia and China [is] is rising “, Xi said, according to an official English translation provided by the Russian state television RT. He quoted the Russian president of Vladimir Putin visit to Beijing in early February.

“Trade in the first half of this year was [in the tens of billions of U.S. dollars] and we can expect new records in the coming months, which is proof of the great cooperation between our two nations, “Xi said.

The Chinese leader spoke through a video in the church of St. The plenary session of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, which Putin opened with a speech, lasted more than an hour.

The official Chinese state media read Xi’s remarks does not mention “new records” in trade between China and Russia. The report did call for the removal of trade barriers and greater co-operation with other countries, including Russia.

Both in the Chinese information and in the RT translation, Xi stressed that China’s economic potential has not changed and speaks of the further development of the “One Belt, One Road” initiative.

China-Russia trade totaled $ 65.81 billion in the first five months of this year, up 28.9 percent from a year earlier, according to Chinese customs. Most of the growth comes from Chinese imports from Russia.

Beijing has refused to call Russia’s attack on Ukraine an invasion. After a high-level meeting between Xi and Putin in early February, testimony said there was “no restrictions” or “restricted areas” of cooperation, not to mention Ukraine.

Earlier this week, Xi said in a telephone conversation with Putin that Kyiv and Moscow “must insist on proper settlement” in the ongoing war in Ukraine, according to a Chinese account of the call.

“China, they have their national interest in mind,” Putin said on Friday after Xi’s statement, according to RT’s English translation. “But we don’t contradict each other.”

He described Russia’s relations with China as “friendly”, but noted that this did not mean that China should play alongside us in everything. We don’t need that. “

He did not talk to the Ukrainian president Vladimir Zelensky since Russia invaded Ukraine in late February. There are many countries from Germany to Japan joined the United States in freezing the assets of Russian oligarchs, restricting the access of Russia’s largest banks to the global financial system and cutting off Russia from critical technologies.

Various events in Davos.

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