Russia and China announced on Tuesday that they have opened a “new era” in their relations, emphasizing their identity of positions against the Western powers, which want to isolate Russia over the war in Ukraine and increase its presence in Asia.

“We have signed a statement strengthening our strategic partnership and relations entering a new era,” said the Chinese president, Xi Jinpingafter meeting in Moscow with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin.

After meeting with Xi, Putin announced that the two countries have reached an agreement to build a giant pipeline that will bring gas from the Siberian region to northwestern China, a project known as Siberia Force 2.

Mediation in the war between Russia and Ukraine

After the summit, Putin expressed tentative support for Chinese proposals to find a negotiated solution to the conflict in Ukraine, which began nearly 13 months ago with the invasion of that country by Russian troops.

But he blamed Westerners and Ukraine for Ukraine’s lack of response to these final proposals, which included the call for respect for the territorial sovereignty of all countries.

“Many points of the peace plan proposed by China (…) can serve as a basis for a peaceful solution, when the West and Kiev are ready. But for now, we don’t see any willingness on his part,” said the Russian president.

Ukrainian President Volodimir Zelensky instead assured after these statements that he had invited China to talk and that is so far waiting for “an answer”.

China has actively brokered the recent diplomatic reconciliation between Saudi Arabia and Iran, but analysts say it will be difficult to stop hostilities in the former Soviet republic.

‘Concern’ for Asia

The Moscow statement emphasizes that Russia and China are “deeply concerned about the increasing strengthening of ties between NATO and the countries of the Asia-Pacific region on military and security issues” and accuse the Atlantic Alliance of “destroying regional peace and undermine stability.

It also denounces “the negative influence of US strategy guided by a Cold War mentality (…) on peace and stability in that region.”

China had already denounced the “erroneous and dangerous path” last week that it believes opens Australia’s signed agreement with the United States and United Kingdom (AUKUS) to equip itself with nuclear-powered submarines.

Support for Putin sought by the ICC

Xi’s visit to Moscow is equally one personal award to Putin, whose arrest warrant has been issued since last week by the International Criminal Court (ICC) on charges of the illegal deportation of Ukrainian children, considered war crimes.

Xi stated that China is “ready to resolutely side with Russia” for the sake of “genuine multilateralism”.

Moscow and Beijing have strengthened their cooperation in recent years, united by a desire to counter US influence on the international scene.