Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday called on the leaders of Russia and India to take “global responsibility” to safeguard the three countries’ interests and uphold multilateralism, as Beijing seeks to rally support amid its protracted trade war with Washington.
Xi made the remarks during a trilateral meeting with Vladimir Putin and Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the annual Group of 20 summit of world leaders in Osaka, Japan.
The trilateral meeting was part of the Chinese leader’s efforts to marshal international support ahead of his high-stakes meeting with US President Donald Trump, seeking to reach a truce on the year-long trade conflict between the world’s two biggest economies.
“The rise of protectionism and unilateralism has severely affected global stability and economic growth, as well as the existing international order which emerging economies and developing countries have relied on,” Xi was quoted as saying by state broadcaster CCTV.
“China, Russia and India should take on global responsibility to safeguard the fundamental and long-term interests of these three countries and the world,” he said.
Xi also called for the nations to promote “a more multipolar world and the democratisation of international relations” – meaning with less reliance on a US-led world order.
During a meeting with leaders of the other BRICS countries – major emerging economies Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – Xi also said Beijing opposed what it saw as “illegal and unilateral sanctions” and “long-arm jurisdiction”.
The efforts to forge closer ties among China, Russia and India come as all three nations are locked in disputes with the United States.
New Delhi, a key strategic ally in Washington’s Indo-Pacific policy to contain China’s rise, has been upset over tariffs imposed on Indian goods by the Trump administration. Meanwhile, geopolitical rivalry and the Kremlin’s alleged meddling in US elections has strained relations between Moscow and Washington.
Wu Jianghao, director general of the Chinese foreign ministry’s Asian affairs department, said the trilateral meeting laid out a framework for future cooperation.
“The three countries have spoken with one voice on some major global issues, helping stability and injecting positive energy to the current international situation – which is filled with instability and uncertainties,” Wu said at a briefing on Friday.
Wu said that the leaders did not talk about Huawei Technologies or 5G networks, but that the three countries had maintained good communication on telecoms issues and would continue to cooperate.
Washington has banned US companies from selling American technology to Huawei and put pressure on its allies to block the Chinese tech firm over security concerns.
Meanwhile, the United States is also seeking to build ties with India, with Trump holding trilateral talks with Modi and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Friday.
Indian Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale described that trilateral meeting as “very good”, saying it was “short but very productive”.
“The main topic of discussion was the Indo-Pacific, about how the three countries could work together in terms of connectivity, infrastructure and ensuring that peace and stability is maintained, and working together to build upon this new concept so that it would benefit the region as a whole and the three countries,” Gokhale said.
On the Modi-Trump bilateral meeting, he said the two leaders had “a very warm discussion”. They also briefly discussed 5G, with the focus on business cooperation between the two countries to leverage their technology and the potential of the Indian market, according to Gokhale.
He said the discussion of how to develop 5G networks was “in terms of business, not in terms of governments”. “It’s an exciting new area that India and the US can work together [on],” he said.