During talks on Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping vowed to step up efforts to establish an independent trade network to reduce reliance on the US-led financial system, The South China Morning Post reported Thursday.
Yury Ushakov, an aide to Putin, said the two leaders agreed on “the necessity of accelerating efforts on the formation of independent financial infrastructure for servicing trading operations between Russia and China.” Ushakov said “third countries” could not influence such a network.
In recent years, both China and Russia have found themselves the frequent target of US sanctions. With tensions simmering over Ukraine, US officials have threatened to cut Russia off from the international payment system known as SWIFT.
Facing similar pressure, China and Russia have boosted their trade relationship. During Wednesday’s call, Xi said trade between the two nations topped $100 billion this year for the first time. The leaders also want to make fewer transactions with the US dollar and more using the Chinese yuan or the Russian ruble.
In recent years, the US has imposed an enormous number of sanctions on countries that have governments Washington does not like. Several countries are under so many sanctions they are essentially under economic blockades, such as Iran, Venezuela, North Korea, Syria, and Cuba.
These heavily-sanctioned countries make natural allies and trading partners for China and Russia as they seek less reliance on the US system. For example, Iran has found a vital lifeline in oil sales to China.