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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Russia, China Seek Closer Ties

BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan -- Russia and China want to form a closer alliance to counterbalance U.S. global clout, the presidents of the two eastern giants declared Wednesday.

President Boris Yeltsin and Chinese President Jiang Zemin met for one-on-one talks Wednesday before taking part in a five-nation summit in Kyrgyzstan, a former Soviet state in Central Asia. The summit was intended to improve stability along China's lengthy border with Russia and three former Soviet republics.

Yeltsin again urged stronger ties with China to counter U.S. influence in international affairs. Moscow has become even more adamant in its wish to forge new alliances in the east and Asia since NATO's airstrikes against Yugoslavia, which Russia staunchly opposed.

"The current summit is taking place in conditions of an aggravated international situation," Yeltsin said. "Some nations are trying to build a world order that would be convenient only for them, ignoring that the world is multipolar."

Jiang made similar remarks in his speech.

"The process of forming a multipolar world is difficult, but it has become an irreversible trend," he said.

Jiang did not mention the United States by name, but he appeared to refer to Washington when he said there was a "new display of hegemony relying on force, and it has already drawn concern on the international scene.''

Russia and China had a falling out in the late 1950s, and the Chinese-Soviet border became a site of major tensions. But after the Soviet collapse, relations between the two countries have improved considerably.

China has become one of Russia's major trading partners and is a top client for its ailing military industrial complex, purchasing billions of dollars worth of jets, missiles and submarines.

"The meeting between Boris Yeltsin and Jiang Zemin took place in a very warm and friendly atmosphere," Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov said. "Our relations are now at a peak and that meets the interests of both nations as well as the interests of regional and international stability."

The five-nation summit, which also included Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan, was the fourth such meeting since April 1996, when the leaders first met in Shanghai, China, and agreed on a series of confidence-building measures along the border.

"Russia has strategic interests in maintaining stability and security in Asia," Yeltsin said. "We would like to see this region developing good neighborly links."

The five leaders signed an agreement to cooperate on fighting crime and drug trafficking across their borders.

Under previous agreements the countries have reduced troop levels and limited military activities along the frontier, which stretches for more than 7,000 kilometers.

Yeltsin flew back to Moscow after the summit ended Wednesday afternoon.