- MOSCOW (AP) - Russia and
China warned other nations Friday against attempts to dominate global affairs
and interfere in the domestic issues of sovereign nations in what appeared
to be a veiled expression of their irritation with U.S. policy.
- Presidents Vladimir Putin and Hu Jintao signed a joint
declaration after two days of talks calling for a stronger United Nations
role in global affairs and opposing attempts "to impose models of
social and political development from outside."
- The two leaders also urged other states to renounce "striving
for monopoly and domination in international affairs and attempts to divide
nations into leaders and those being led."
- While the declaration did not identify any specific country,
it echoed similar veiled hints by Moscow and Beijing about U.S. policy
in global affairs.
- After decades of rivalry, Moscow and Beijing have developed
what they call a strategic partnership since the 1991 Soviet collapse,
pledging their adherence to a "multipolar world," a term that
refers to their opposition to U.S. domination.
- China and Russia share a concern about increased U.S.
influence in Central Asia since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, which led
to American troop deployments in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan for operations
in neighboring Afghanistan.
- While Russia remains a U.S. ally in fighting terror,
relations often have been strained by U.S. concerns about backtracking
on democracy under Putin and Moscow's worries about what it sees as U.S.
meddling in ex-Soviet republics. Russia also bristles at western calls
for peace talks with rebels in Chechnya.
- Beijing is unhappy about U.S. ties with Taiwan. Beijing
claims Taiwan as part of its territory and says the island has no right
to conduct foreign relations.
- "We reinforced our mutual support on key issues
like Taiwan and Chechnya which concern our vital interests," Hu said
after the talks.
- The two leaders gave an upbeat assessment on Russian-Chinese
relations, which have flourished in recent years and were cemented in a
border treaty ratified this year.
- "We have set a solid foundation for friendship,
trust and cooperation for Russia and China for a long time to come,"
Putin said Friday.
- Moscow and Beijing dominate the Shanghai Cooperation
Organization, a regional security grouping that also includes the ex-Soviet
Central Asian nations of Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.
- Uzbekistan's President Islam Karimov, facing Western
criticism for his government's bloody suppression of a May uprising, has
found staunch support in Moscow and Beijing.
- After their meetings in Moscow, Putin and Hu were due
to meet again Tuesday at the SCO summit in Kazakhstan.
- "We are increasing coordination and cooperation
on important regional and international issues, such as guaranteeing stability
in Central Asia, the SCO, reform of the United Nations and the nuclear
problem of the Korean Peninsula," Hu said.
- The Russian and Chinese militaries are due to hold their
first joint maneuvers later this year - which some observers have seen
as Russia's response to cooling relations with the U.S. and other Western
- China has purchased billions of dollars worth of fighters,
missiles, submarines and destroyers after the Soviet collapse, becoming
the main customer for struggling Russian defense industries.
- Now it is eager to tap into Russian oil and gas to fuel
its booming economy, and has lobbied hard for priority access over Japan
to an oil pipeline carrying Siberian crude to Asian markets.
- Russian-Chinese trade amounted to about $20 billion last
year, and Hu told the ITAR-Tass news agency that it could reach between
$60 billion and $80 billion by 2010.