MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on Monday announced the extension of a 20-year-old friendship and cooperation treaty between their countries, both of which have strained ties with the West.
Speaking to Xi via video conference, Putin said the Sino-Russian Treaty of Friendship, signed in 2001, enshrined the two powers’ support for defending national unity and territorial integrity, at a time when both Moscow and Beijing are at odds with Western countries on a wide range of issues.
“In today’s world, such agreements are of serious importance,” the Kremlin cited Putin as saying. “In the context of increasing geopolitical turbulence, the dismantlement of arms control agreements and increased potential for conflict in different corners of the world, Russian-Chinese coordination plays a stabilising role in world affairs.”
Putin said the agreement would be automatically extended for another five years after it expires in February 2022.
Russia’s relations with the United States and other Western countries linger at post-Cold War lows over issues ranging from Moscow’s annexation of Crimea to allegations of Russian meddling in U.S. elections.
Putin held a summit earlier this month with U.S. counterpart Joe Biden in which they decided to cooperate in some areas despite their tense relations.
(Reporting by Alexander Marrow and Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber; Editing by William Maclean)