Saint Petersburg: China’s Xi Jinping and Russia’s Vladimir Putin hit back at US global economic dominance yesterday as they took the stage together at Russia’s showcase business forum.
With China embroiled in a trade war with Washington and Russia under Western sanctions, Xi and Putin lashed out at “inequalities” in the global economic system and vowed to pursue closer ties between their countries.
Putin, speaking in front of political and business leaders at the annual Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum, accused Washington of seeking to “extend its jurisdiction to the
Denouncing the “rhetoric of trade wars and sanctions”, Putin called for rethinking the role of the US dollar in global trade and slammed US pressure on both countries.
He pointed to US efforts to block the building of Nord Stream 2, a major new natural gas pipeline from Russia to Germany that would bypass Ukraine, and Washington’s pressure on Chinese tech giant Huawei.
“They are attempting not just to squeeze but to unceremoniously push (Huawei) out of the global market,” Putin said.
Xi said steps needed to be taken to “overcome inequalities” in the global economic system.
Pointing to Russia as a key partner, he said China was looking to build “beneficial co-operation on the basis of equality and mutual respect” with friendly countries.
“China is ready to share technological inventions with all partners, in particular 5G technology,” Xi said.
China is locked in a trade war with the US that has seen Washington impose sweeping duties and move to blacklist
companies like Huawei.
Moscow and Beijing’s economic ties have grown in recent years, though they remain heavily weighted in favour of China, which dwarfs Russia in economic and demographic terms.
Xi’s visit has seen the signing of dozens of commercial contracts in e-commerce, telecoms, gas and other areas.
While this is the Chinese leader’s first appearance at the economic forum, where he heads a 1,000-strong delegation, he and Putin have met regularly in recent years.
The partnership is yielding increasing trade, which grew by 25 per cent in 2018 to hit a record $108 billion.
The first day of the forum on Thursday saw Putin make a pitch for increased foreign investment as Russia looks to revive an economy hit by Western sanctions over Ukraine and the drop in oil prices.
Putin, whose approval ratings have dropped to record lows, has vowed to boost growth through a series of “national projects” that will cost Russia $388bn.