In Moscow, new Chinese leader Xi warns against meddling

MOSCOW Sat Mar 23, 2013 8:48am EDT

Chinese President Xi Jinping claps during his address to students at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations in Moscow March 23, 2013. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin

Chinese President Xi Jinping claps during his address to students at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations in Moscow March 23, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Sergei Karpukhin

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MOSCOW (Reuters) - Chinese President Xi Jinping warned against foreign interference in the affairs of other nations during a speech in Moscow on Saturday, sending a signal to the West and echoing a message often repeated by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Permanent U.N. Security Council members with veto power, Russia and China have frequently teamed up diplomatically to blunt the influence of the United States and its NATO allies and have blocked three draft resolutions on Syria.

"We must respect the right of each country in the world to independently choose its path of development and oppose interference in the internal affairs of other countries," Xi told students at an international relations school.

He spoke a day after meeting Putin on his first foreign trip since becoming president, a choice both said underscored a "strategic partnership" between Russia and China. In the Kremlin, he told Putin: "you and I are good friends."

Xi told Russian students on Saturday: "Strong Chinese-Russian relations ... not only answer to our interests but also serve as an important, reliable guarantee of an international strategic balance and peace."

Putin, who began a six-year term last May, has often criticized foreign interference in sovereign states.

Russia and China have resisted Western calls to pressure Syrian President Bashar al-Assad over the two-year-old civil conflict that has killed more than 70,000 people.

They both criticized the NATO bombing that helped rebels overthrow Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 and stood together in the Security Council in votes on the Iranian and North Korean nuclear programs.

Both China and Russia have bristled at U.S. and European criticism of their human rights records.

Putin said in a foreign policy decree issued at the start of his new term that Russia would counter attempts to use human rights as a pretext for interference, and his government has cracked down on foreign-funded non-governmental organizations.

FRIENDSHIP AND FEAR

Xi told Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev his visit had "surpassed my expectations" and said he had chosen Russia as his first foreign destination as president to "show the special importance of our relations."

Despite the warm words, Moscow is concerned that its far more populous, faster-growing neighbor could pose a threat, something that has not made for easy deals between the world's biggest energy producer, Russia, and its biggest consumer, China.

Xi's visit produced an agreement for Russian state giant Rosneft to gradually treble oil supplies to China, but the sides are still short of a deal on the supply of pipeline gas to China, thwarted for years over prices.

Viktor Yaskov, a student who attended Xi's address, said the Chinese leader made "a good impression", but expressed fears about the neighbor. "We're worried about Chinese economic expansion," he said.

Xi arrived in Moscow with glamorous first lady Peng Liyuan, prompting speculation about whether Putin's wife Lyudmila - last seen at a state event last May - would make an appearance.

That did not happen, and Peng kept a low profile after her first steps off the airplane caused an Internet sensation in China.

After Russia, Xi will visit Tanzania, the Republic of Congo and South Africa, where he and Putin are expected to meet again at a summit of the BRICS group of emerging economies next week.

(Additional reporting by Megan Davies; Writing by Steve Gutterman; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)

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Comments (79)
reality-again wrote:
“We must respect the right of each country in the world to independently choose its path of development and oppose interference in the internal affairs of other countries,”

This sentence is shallow, meaningless, and pretty dumb, actually, considering China invests huge lobbying efforts in Washington, as well as the fact that many countries’ internal affairs are governed by brutal dictatorships that threaten their own citizens, neighboring countries, and the international community.

Xi gets an F on this one.

Mar 23, 2013 7:00am EDT  --  Report as abuse
brd893 wrote:
Do not meddle as long it is us doing the rape and meddling. The West has perfected it’s use of money to control countries.China and Russia are learning fast. This means of buying loyalty of thr population and countries was used by Chavez. Luckily for him he died before the ‘chickens came home to roost’.
We shall see.

Mar 23, 2013 7:58am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Binary wrote:
So Xi… will the PRC be out of Tibet soon then? Or do you mean by countries meddling, anybody but the PRC? Put your money where your mouth is – that is the only way you will ever be taken seriously.

Mar 23, 2013 8:25am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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