On the occasion of his 69th birthday, Xi also pledged to deepen strategic coordination between the two countries, according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry.
In a separate statement from the Kremlin, the two leaders said their country’s relationship was “at an all-time high” and reaffirmed their commitment to “steadily deepen the comprehensive partnership.”
The call is believed to be the second time the two leaders have spoken since Russia invaded Ukraine. They also spoke just days after Moscow launched what it itself insists was a “military special operation”.
China, too, has refrained from calling Russia’s actions an invasion and has walked a fine line on the issue. She has presented herself as a call for peace and the preservation of world order, while refusing to denounce Russia’s actions. It has also used its state media apparatus to mimic Kremlin lines blaming the United States and NATO for the crisis.
During Wednesday’s call, Xi stressed that China has always “independently assessed” the situation in Ukraine and urged “all parties” to push for an “adequate resolution of the Ukraine crisis” — language he used in a call US President Joe in March used Biden.
China is “ready to continue to play its role” in promoting a “reasonable solution” for Ukraine, he said.
The summary of the Kremlin’s call went a step further, saying, “The President of China has established the legitimacy of Russia’s actions to protect fundamental national interests in the face of threats to its security from external forces.”
Wednesday’s call was also an opportunity for the two leaders to catch up on a growing trade relationship.
Earlier this year, weeks before the Russian invasion, the two leaders said at a face-to-face meeting their countries had a borderless partnership and vowed to boost trade.
“Since the beginning of this year, in the face of global turmoil and transformation, bilateral ties have maintained solid development momentum,” Xi said on Wednesday’s conference call.
“The Chinese side is willing to work with the Russian side to push for steady and long-term development of practical bilateral cooperation,” Xi said, referring to the “steady progress” of their trade ties and the opening of the first cross last week -Border Motorway Bridge across the Amur River.
The two agreed to expand cooperation in energy, finance, manufacturing and other areas “taking into account the global economic situation, which has been complicated by the West’s illegitimate sanctions policies,” the Kremlin ad said.
The two countries also pledged to work together to strengthen communication and coordination in international bodies like the United Nations – where the two often vote as a bloc.
“China also stands ready to work with Russia to promote solidarity and cooperation among emerging economies… and push the development of the international order and global governance in a more just and reasonable direction,” Xi said in a comment that was hit to the common goal of countries to push back against what they see as global hegemony by the United States.
The call wasn’t the first time Xi and Putin — two strongmen drawn together by mutual distrust of the West — got engaged on each other’s birthdays.
In 2013, Xi presented Putin with a birthday cake and the two drank vodka together to celebrate the Russian leader’s 61st birthday during a conference in Indonesia. Xi later celebrated his 66th birthday during a 2019 summit in Tajikistan with Putin, who surprised him with ice cream, cake and champagne.
Their personal relationship, in which Xi has referred to Putin as his “best and best friend,” is also said to fuel the momentum of their strengthening rapport nationally.
In its summary of the two leaders’ last phone call, the Kremlin noted that the conversation was held in a “traditionally warm and friendly atmosphere.”