Xi-Putin call shows joint stance against politicizing pandemic

By Chen Qingqing and Yang Sheng Source:Global Times Published: 2020/4/17 1:02:58

National flags of China and Russia are seen in the Red Square, Moscow, Russia. Photo: Xinhua

Top leaders of China and Russia spoke on the phone on Thursday night, communicating on epidemic prevention and control and setting  a fundamental tone for China-Russia ties amid challenging time marked with uncertainties. Such extremely strong mutual understanding and support to address each other's core concerns shown by the top leaders of the two countries also indicated China-Russia ties are the most stable and solid bilateral relationship between major powers, analysts said. 

The novel coronavirus pneumonia (COVID-19) is spreading around the world, and all the countries are facing hard tasks in fighting the pandemic. The Chinese and Russian leaders spoke on the phone twice in a month, indicating the high-level of bilateral relations, Chinese President Xi Jinping told Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chinese Central Television reported on Thursday night. 

Xi said that under Putin's strong leadership, Russia would surely be able to control the spread of the pandemic as soon as possible, ensure the safety of people's lives and health, and restore economic and social development.

China will always remember that Russia offered help to us during the difficult time of China's fight against COVID-19. In the past few days, the medical expert team sent by the Chinese government is actively working in Moscow to exchange and share anti-epidemic experience with their Russian counterparts, the Chinese President said. 

Xi also said politicizing and assigning labels over the COVID-19 pandemic are detrimental to international cooperation. 

Yang Jin, an associate research fellow at the Institute of Russian, Eastern European and Central Asian Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Thursday that "the frequent communications between Xi and Putin and high-level mutual trust as well as mutual assistance throughout the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic showed that the China-Russia relationship is the most stable and solid bilateral relationship between major powers."

Since the outbreak, Russia and China have always united and cooperated and supported each other, reflecting the strategic and high level of Russia-China relations, Putin said, according to CCTV. 

The attempts by some people to smear China on the origin of the novel coronavirus are unacceptable, Putin said. 

And the Russian side is willing to continue to strengthen exchanges and cooperation in various fields such as anti-epidemic with China, and to communicate and cooperate closely within the UN and other frameworks.

The two leaders both mentioned the same stance against wrongdoings which politicize the pandemic, so this means China and Russia will stand together while the US and other Western countries "poison future international relations through politicizing the pandemic and even claiming compensation from China," Yang noted.

While Russia sees rapid spikes in confirmed COVID-19 cases, China pays close attention to preventing imported cases from the neighboring country with frictions emerging between people, which has become a major topic for the West in questioning the sustainability of China-Russia ties. It has also become a topic for Western media to hype on. 

In fact, the direct and close communication between Xi and Putin, in addition to their good personal relationship that is hardly seen on the  global stage, indicates they are handling the bilateral ties in a skillful and mature manner, analysts said, noting that some divergences and "outside noises" won't dilute such cohesion. 

US media outlet Fox News continued hyping the old conspiracy theory that the novel coronavirus was made in "a Wuhan laboratory" by citing "anonymous sources" without even explaining how the sources acquired the information while US President Donald Trump fanned the flames of such claims during a daily briefing on Wednesday, drawing a backlash from the Chinese side. 

If no one can stop the West from politicizing the pandemic, the competition among major powers in the future could be unimaginable and unpredictable as the public health crisis could escalate to far worse situations "including war," so China and Russia are playing a powerful and responsible stabilizer to deterring the West from politicizing the pandemic and helping the world avoid encountering a more destructive crisis in the future, Yang further said. 

The public health crisis is seen as a major topic for the global community in the coming years. Promoting cooperation between China and Russia also showed that the two nations would firmly support bilateral and multilateral collaboration on dealing with the major global public health issues, Li Haidong, a professor at the Institute of International Relations of the China Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times.


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