|President Xi Jinping Speaks with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the Phone|
President Xi Jinping spoke with President Vladimir Putin of Russia on the phone on the evening of 16 April.
President Xi said that as COVID-19 is breaking out in many places around the world, countries are all facing the challenging task of fighting the virus. The fact that the leaders of the two countries had two telephone conversations in a month to exchange views and coordinate actions on cooperation against the virus once again proves the strength of China-Russia relations. Xi noted the personal commitment of President Putin in leading the COVID-19 response and the resolute measures Russia had adopted. He expressed the confidence that under the strong leadership of President Putin, Russia will soon contain the spread of the virus to protect the safety and health of its people and bring economic and social development back on track.
President Xi stressed that China and Russia are connected by mountains and rivers and their peoples share a cordial friendship. China will never forget Russia's strong support during the gravest moment in its fight against the disease. The medical expert team sent by the Chinese government is currently working in Moscow and sharing experience with their Russian counterparts. China has provided a batch of assistance materials to Russia and is facilitating its purchase of medical supplies in China, Xi said, adding that China will continue to extend firm support to Russia. Xi also expressed appreciation for Russia's active efforts to protect the Chinese nationals in the country, and trusted that their normal life and work will continue to be guaranteed by the Russian side. He stressed that politicizing and labeling the virus situation is counterproductive to international cooperation, and that China and Russia should work hand in hand to uphold global public health security.
President Xi noted that China-Russia trade grew by 3.4 percent year on year in the first quarter, a remarkable achievement amid a world economic downturn. As COVID-19 response continues on a regular basis, China and Russia need to jointly explore innovative, flexible and diverse forms of cooperation in order to move bilateral cooperation forward. He said that China and Russia will withstand the test of COVID-19, and their strategic coordination will grow more resilient and robust and the friendship between the two peoples will become even stronger.
President Putin said that the Chinese government and people, uniting as one, have achieved important progress in controlling the virus, and are providing support and help to many countries in the world as they battle this disease. Since the start of COVID-19, the two countries have stood in unity and extended mutual support, which is a testament to the strategic nature and high quality of Russia-China relations. The attempt by some to smear China on the question of the origin of the virus is unacceptable. Russia is ready to continue to strengthen exchanges and cooperation with China in fighting COVID-19 and in other areas, and intensify communication and collaboration under the UN and other frameworks.
The two presidents agreed to maintain close engagement through flexible and diverse means.