Russia and China Align Against U.S As They Issue Demands to Joe Biden

Presidents Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping have given a defiant message to the U.S. and the West, following their meeting in Beijing on Friday ahead of the Winter Olympics opening ceremony.

Russia and China's leaders issued a joint statement after the summit, calling on NATO to rule out expansion in eastern Europe and criticizing Asia-Pacific security blocs.

They also called on the U.S. to abandon plans to deploy intermediate and shorter-range missiles in the Asia-Pacific region and Europe.

The statement released by the Kremlin said China and Russia "oppose the further expansion" of the U.S-led alliance, calling on the organization to "abandon the ideological approaches of the Cold War era."

NATO should "respect the sovereignty, security and interests of other countries," the statement added.

Russian news agencies focused on the leaders' pledge to "resist the interference of external forces in the internal affairs of sovereign countries."

The statement has underlined Moscow and Beijing's common interests in conflicts with western powers. It criticized the U.S. withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty and the development of land-based intermediate-range and shorter-range missiles.

It also said "the desire to deploy them in the Asia-Pacific and European regions increased "tension and mistrust." The statement called on Washington "to respond positively" to Russia's proposal that the U.S. abandon missile deployment plans.

It added that Beijing and Moscow would "continue to …strengthen coordination on this issue."

Friday's summit was the first in-person meeting between Putin and Xi for two years and is expected to cement ties between their countries, as the Russian president faces global pressure over the buildup of troops by the border with Ukraine.

In what appeared to be a reference to Russia's position on the Ukraine crisis, China said it "understands and supports the proposals" of Moscow "on the formation of long-term legally binding security guarantees in Europe."

Reuters has reported that the meeting also yielded a gas deal, with Beijing pledging to increase its imports of the fossil fuel from Russia.

Putin said Moscow had prepared "very good new solutions on hydrocarbon supplies" that involved "a new contract on supplying 10 billion cubic meters (bcm) per year to China from Russia's Far East."

Russia is Europe's biggest provider of natural gas and there are concerns that if the Ukraine crisis spills over into conflict, this could strain supplies.

However, the new deal with Beijing would not see Europe-bound gas diverted because it involves supplies from the Pacific island of Sakhalin, which is not connected to Russia's European pipeline network.

Update 02/04/22, 11:00 a.m. ET: This article was updated to add extra information about the Putin-Xi meeting.

Putin and Xi Jinping  face each other
President Vladimir Putin (L) of Russia and President Xi Jinping of China pose for a photograph during their meeting in Beijing on February 4. The leaders have produced a statement of co-operation. Getty/Alexei Druzhinin