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    Russia, China agree to expand security ties

    MOSCOW (AP) – A top Russian security official declared yesterday on a visit to China that the Kremlin considers beefing up ties with Beijing as a top policy goal.

    Secretary of the national Security Council chaired by Russian President Vladimir Putin, Nikolai Patrushev, described the “strengthening of comprehensive partnership and strategic cooperation with Beijing as an unconditional priority of Russia’s foreign policy”.

    Patrushev is one of Putin’s closest associates. Speaking during a meeting with Guo Shengkun, a top official of China’s Communist Party, he said that “in the current conditions, our countries must show even greater readiness for mutual support and development of cooperation”.

    Patrushev’s office said in a statement after the talks in the city of Nanping that the parties agreed to “expand information exchanges on countering extremism and foreign attempts to undermine constitutional order of both countries”.

    The Chinese and Russian officials also emphasised a need to expand cooperation on cybersecurity.

    Putin met with Chinese President Xi Jinping last week in Uzbekistan, their first encounter since the Russian leader sent troops into Ukraine in late February. A Chinese government statement issued after the meeting didn’t specifically mention Ukraine but said Xi promised “strong support” for Russia’s “core interests”.

    Xi’s government, which said it had a “no-limits” friendship with Moscow before the February 24 invasion of Ukraine, has refused to criticise Russia’s military actions.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks to Chinese President Xi Jinping during the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in Uzbekistan. PHOTO: AP
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