The presidents of Russia and China on Wednesday agreed to strengthen bilateral ties and coordination in international affairs.

According to a statement by the Kremlin, Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping said in a phone call that the assistance the countries provided each other at the hight of the novel coronavirus pandemic was “a striking manifestation” of the strategic partnership between them.

The leaders intend to “continue actively increasing economic cooperation based on large-scale projects in the areas of hydrocarbon supplies, peaceful nuclear power, civil aircraft construction, scientific, technical and innovative cooperation,” it said.

“The interest confirmed in further close coordination of efforts in the international arena, primarily within the framework of the United Nations Security Council, as well as through the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and BRICS [Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa] association,” added the statement.

Putin and Xi also expressed “strong mutual support” for the protection of sovereignty, prevention of interference in internal affairs from the outside and ensuring the rule of international law.

Xi also congratulated Putin for recent amendments to Russia’s constitution, praising them as “a big step to strengthen the Russian statehood and sustainable socio-economic development of the country.”

Putin recently signed into law constitutional amendments allowing him to remain in power through 2036.

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