Russia positively assessed a Chinese proposal made last month that suggested a cease-fire and political settlement of the Ukraine crisis in a joint statement signed Tuesday by their leaders in Moscow, demonstrating a unified position in opposition to the West.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin called for "stopping all moves that lead to tensions and the protraction of fighting to prevent the crisis from getting worse or even out of control," the Chinese Foreign Ministry said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) and Chinese President Xi Jinping attend an official welcome ceremony in Moscow on March 21, 2023. (Kremlin Pool Photo/AP/Kyodo)

In the joint statement, the two sides also expressed opposition to "any unilateral sanctions unauthorized by the U.N. Security Council," the ministry added, referring to punitive measures imposed on Moscow by Western countries over Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

The Chinese proposal issued on the first anniversary of the invasion did not include calls for Moscow to withdraw troops, with the United States criticizing Beijing's stance as not being impartial.

After holding talks for a second day in Moscow on Tuesday, Putin and Xi jointly met the press. The Russian leader said many of the provisions of the Chinese proposal are "consonant with Russian approaches and can be taken as the basis for a peaceful settlement" when the West and Kyiv are ready for it.

"However, so far, we have not seen such readiness on their part," Putin said.

Commenting on the Ukraine crisis, Xi emphasized that China has always "abided by the purposes and principles of the U.N. Charter, followed an objective and impartial position, and actively encouraged peace talks," according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

The joint statement said China-Russia relations are "not the kind of military-political alliance" seen during the Cold War, and that the partnership, rather than being a formal alliance, is based on "no-confrontation" and "not targeting any third party," China's official Xinhua News Agency said.

The Russian side reaffirmed in the statement its adherence to the one-China principle, recognizing Taiwan as an inalienable part of Chinese territory. Beijing regards the self-ruled democratic island as a renegade province to be unified with the mainland, by force if necessary.

On North Korea, which has recently conducted a series of missile tests in response to a U.S.-South Korea joint military exercise, the statement called on Washington to respond to Pyongyang's concerns, Russia's Tass news agency said.

"The U.S. side should respond to North Korea's legitimate and rational concerns with practical actions and create conditions for resuming a dialogue," the statement said.

China and Russia also expressed concern in the statement over Japan's plan to begin discharging treated radioactive water into the sea from the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant sometime this spring or summer.

They urged Tokyo to "demonstrate transparency in contacts with neighboring countries, other states concerned, international agencies and hold exhaustive consultations on this matter," the document said, according to Tass.

Beijing and Moscow said the International Atomic Energy Agency and the countries concerned should organize long-term monitoring to ensure efficient protection of the marine environment.

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