Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Thursday affirmed close coordination in countering the United States and its allies amid the Ukraine crisis and heightened tensions across the Taiwan Strait.

In a meeting in Uzbekistan, their first face-to-face talks since Russia's invasion of Ukraine in late February, Xi said China is ready to work with Russia in "extending strong support to each other on issues concerning their respective core interests," the official Xinhua News Agency said.

Putin said Russians "highly appreciate the balanced position" of China on the Ukraine crisis and condemned "U.S. provocations in Taiwan," according to the Tass news agency, referring to House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to the island in August.

Beijing has shied away from criticizing Moscow's invasion of Ukraine while opposing punitive sanctions on the nation imposed by the United States and European countries.

Communist-led China has sharply reacted to Pelosi's trip to the self-ruled democratic island, which Beijing regards as its own, by conducting large-scale military drills around the territory.

In the meeting in Samarkand on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit, Putin said Moscow is "firmly committed" to the one-China principle, with Xi praising Russia's stance.

"No country has the right to become a judge on the Taiwan issue," Chinese state-run media quoted the Asian country's leader as saying. His remarks were seen as a warning to the United States.

Xi told Putin that as a responsible world power, Beijing is ready to play a leading role with Moscow in "putting a rapidly changing world on the track of sustainable and positive development," according to the Tass report.

The Russian leader warned against "attempts to create a monopolar world," alluding to the building of an international order led by the United States, saying such efforts have "taken on an absolutely ugly shape" and are "unacceptable for the vast majority of states on the globe," Tass said.

China and the Soviet Union, Russia's predecessor state, were competitors during the Cold War. They were at odds over interpretations and practical applications of Marxism-Leninism, the ideology of 20th-century communism, but Beijing and Moscow have been reinforcing cooperation lately.

Moscow has been eager to seek support from the world's second-largest economy amid sanctions imposed by the Western countries, while Beijing has seen its ties with the United States, Japan and European nations sharply deteriorate over heightened tensions across the Taiwan Strait.

The Russian and Chinese leaders last met in person in early February when Putin visited Beijing for the opening of the Winter Olympics. At that time, Xi said Beijing's friendship with Moscow has "no limits."

Xi is making his first trip abroad since the COVID-19 pandemic intensified around the world in early 2020.

The SCO summit brings together China, Russia, India, Pakistan and the Central Asian states of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

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