Monday, a top Russian security official declared that Russia considers shoring up ties with China a top policy goal. The declaration came during a visit to China by Nikolai Patrushev, secretary of the national Security Council. Patrushev cites such an alliance as necessary because of attempts to “undermine the constitutional order.”
Patrushev is one of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s closest associates. Speaking during a meeting with Guo Shengkun, a top official of China’s Communist Party, he said, “In the current conditions, our countries must show even greater readiness for mutual support and development of cooperation.” He describes the “strengthening of comprehensive partnership and strategic cooperation with Beijing as an unconditional priority of Russia’s foreign policy.”
Patrushev’s office said after the talks that the parties agreed to “expand information exchanges on countering extremism and foreign attempts to undermine the constitutional order of both countries.”
Chinese and Russian officials also emphasized a need to expand cooperation on cybersecurity and strengthen contacts between their law enforcement agencies on fighting terrorism.
The statement didn’t offer any further details of future cooperation.
Alliances, terrorism, wars—the news is often full of trouble. In times like these, it is good to remember that “the Most High rules the kingdom of men.” (Daniel 4:17)
Last week Putin met with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Uzbekistan. It was their first encounter since the Russian leader sent troops into Ukraine in late February.
A Chinese government statement issued after the meeting didn’t specifically mention Ukraine. But the report said Xi promised “strong support” for Russia’s “core interests.”
Xi’s government said it had a “no-limits” friendship with Moscow before the February 24 invasion of Ukraine. China has refused to criticize Russia’s military actions. China and India both have increased imports of Russian oil and gas. That action helps Moscow offset Western sanctions imposed over its actions in Ukraine.
During his meeting with Xi last week, Putin praised China’s president for maintaining a “balanced” approach to the Ukrainian crisis. The Russian leader said he was ready to discuss Beijing’s “concerns” about Ukraine.
Putin’s rare mention of Chinese worries came as the effect of unstable oil prices and economic uncertainty due to almost seven months of fighting in Ukraine has caused anxiety in China.
Xi and Putin met on the sidelines of the eight-nation Shanghai Cooperation Organization, a security alliance created as a counterweight to U.S. influence. The group also includes India, Pakistan, and four ex-Soviet nations in Central Asia.
(Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, gestures while speaking to Chinese President Xi Jinping during the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, on Friday, September 16, 2022. Sergei Bobylev, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)