Chinese President Xi Jinping warned against foreign interference in the affairs of other nations during a speech in Moscow on Saturday, sending a signal to the West and echoing a message often repeated by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Permanent U.N. Security Council members with veto power, Russia and China have frequently teamed up diplomatically to blunt the influence of the United States and its NATO allies and have blocked three draft resolutions on Syria.
"We must respect the right of each country in the world to independently choose its path of development and oppose interference in the internal affairs of other countries," Xi told students at an international relations school.
He was speaking a day after meeting Putin on his first foreign trip becoming president, a choice both said underscored a "strategic partnership" between Russia and China.
"Strong Chinese-Russian relations ... not only answer to our interests but also serve as an important, reliable guarantee of an international strategic balance and peace," Xi said.
Putin, who began a six-year term last May has often criticized foreign interference in sovereign states.
Russia and China have resisted Western calls to pressure Syrian President Bashar al-Assad over the two-year-old civil conflict that has killed more than 70,000 people.
They both criticized the NATO bombing that helped rebels overthrow Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 and stood together in the Security Council in votes on the Iranian and North Korean nuclear programs.
Both China and Russia have bristled at U.S. and European criticism of their human rights records.
Putin said in a foreign policy decree issued at the start of his new term that Russia would counter attempts to use human rights as a pretext for interference, and his government has cracked down on foreign-funded non-governmental organizations.
After Russia, Xi will visit Tanzania, the Republic of Congo and South Africa, where he and Putin are expected to meet again at a summit of the BRICS group of emerging economies next week.