Russia will continue to support China, including on the "sensitive" issue of Taiwan, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday.
"Russia is very careful about [its] ties with China," Putin said during a meeting in Moscow with Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping, who is expected to succeed Hu Jintao as president.
"We have always supported China on the most sensitive issues, including the Taiwan problem," Putin added.
The statement comes amid a simmering dispute over U.S. arms sales to de facto independent Taiwan, an island just off China's west coast, which Beijing considers a rebel region to be reunited with the mainland.
Tension rose sharply earlier this year after the United States said it would sell $6.4 billion worth of arms to Taiwan.
Beijing has threatened to suspend military ties with Washington and impose sanctions against the arms exporters.
Relations were further soured when U.S. President Barack Obama received Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama at the White House in late February.
MOSCOW, March 23 (RIA Novosti)