MOSCOW (Reuters) - China and Russia agree entirely with each other’s positions on the crisis in Syria and on North Korea’s nuclear program, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Cheng Guoping said on Saturday in Moscow.
“The sides hold 100 percent coinciding positions on the issues of North Korea and Syria,” Cheng, who was accompanying Vice Premier Li Keqiang on a visit to Russia, told reporters through an interpreter.
Russia and China have protected Syrian President Bashar al-Assad by blocking two U.N. Security Council resolutions condemning a government crackdown in which the United Nations says 9,000 people have been killed since March 2011.
While publicly opposing foreign interference and particularly military intervention in Syria, they have both backed U.N.-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan’s peace plan in Security Council votes and urged the government and rebels to adhere to a ceasefire.
China and Russia criticized North Korea’s defiant launch of long-range rocket this month, but both called for restraint.
The two veto-wielding permanent U.N. Security Council members use their clout to blunt U.S. power, advocating what they call a “multipolar” world rather than one dominated by any single country.
At the same time, they compete for influence in former Soviet Central Asia and struggle to hash out differences over energy supplies despite an apparent natural fit between Russia and the world’s fastest growing energy consumer.
Li, who is on track to succeed Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao later this year, met on Friday with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who will be inaugurated to a six-year presidential term on May 7.
Reporting by Gleb Bryanski; Writing by Steve Gutterman; Editing by Louise Ireland