Beijing, July 9 (efe-epa).- Russia has backed China in its efforts to safeguard national security in Hong Kong after Beijing imposed a contentious new law in the city that entails life in prison for secession, subversion, terrorism, and collusion with foreign forces.
Russia President Vladimir Putin expressed his support to China during his telephonic conversation with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping with both leaders pledging to safeguard each other’s sovereignty, according to a statement released late Wednesday.
China’s foreign ministry said Putin told Xi that he “opposes all kinds of provocative actions that violate China’s sovereignty and believes China is fully capable of ensuring long-term prosperity and stability in Hong Kong,” state-run news agency Xinhua reported.
Xi congratulated Putin on the constitutional referendum, held between June 25 and July 1, which would allow the Russian president to remain in power until 2036.
“China will, as always, firmly support Russia’s development path that fits its national conditions and staunchly support Russia in accelerating its development and revitalization,” Xi said, according to Xinhua.
He added that “it is very necessary for China and Russia, as comprehensive strategic partners of coordination, to strengthen strategic communication and cooperation” amid a rapidly changing global situation.
The perfect understanding between the two leaders was evident in their unanimous opposition to “foreign interference” in their internal matters, which they said must be prevented, in a reference to alleged external interference in Hong Kong.
A large part of the international community has expressed concern about Hong Kong’s freedoms following Beijing’s recent imposition of the contentious security law for the semi-autonomous city.
The new law establishes penalties of up to life in prison for cases of secession, subversion against state power (a charge usually used against dissidents and critics of the communist regime), terrorist activities, and collusion with foreign forces to put national security at risk.
Russia has come out in defense of its Asian neighbor on numerous occasions.
In May, it said that it saw no reason to blame China for the spread of the novel coronavirus and expressed “concern” about accusations made by the United States against Beijing. EFE-EPA