Russia, China declare friendship treaty extension, hail ties

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MOSCOW (AP) — The leaders of Russia and China on Monday hailed increasingly close ties between their countries and announced the extension of a 20-year-old friendship treaty, a show of unity amid their tensions with the West.

Speaking in a video call with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the treaty signed in July 2001 in Moscow helped take relations between Moscow and Beijing to an “unprecedented height” and would be extended for another five years.

The Russian leader noted that the coordination of foreign policy efforts by Russia and China has played a “stabilizing role in global affairs.”

Xi in his opening remarks emphasized the importance of a “strategic cooperation” between Moscow and Beijing in defending their common interests on the global stage. He added that Russia and China have worked to uphold a “true multilateralism and global justice.”

Putin and Xi have developed strong personal ties to bolster a “strategic partnership” between the two former Communist rivals as they vie with the West for influence and face soaring tensions in relations with the U.S. and its allies. While Moscow and Beijing in the past rejected the possibility of forging a military alliance, Putin said last fall that such a prospect can’t be ruled out entirely.

During Monday’s call, Putin congratulated Xi on the 100th anniversary of the Communist Party of China celebrated Thursday, saying that China is marking it with “new achievements in the country’s social-economic development and on the international stage” and recalling Soviet support for the Chinese communists.

Moscow marked the CPC’s centennial by sharing historic documents on Soviet-Chinese links with Beijing.

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