KEY POINTS

  • Putin said non-regional forces should not be meddling in South China Sea issues
  • The president said negotiations can solve arguments in the South China Sea 
  • Taiwan warned China of countermeasures if they get too close to the island

As war threat looms over the Taiwan strait, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that China "does not need to use force" to take over Taiwan. 

Putin's comments come even as China ramps up a display of power over Taiwan by sending warplanes into the latter's buffer zone. 

The Russian President, who reportedly has a strong relationship with China, said: "I think China does not need to use force. China is a huge powerful economy, and in terms of purchasing parity, China is the economy number one in the world ahead of the United States now."

"By increasing this economic potential, China is capable of implementing its national objectives. I do not see any threats," he added.

He was speaking to CNBC’s  Hadley Gamble at the Russian Energy Week conference in Moscow on Wednesday. 

Last week, Chinese President Xi Jinping vowed to reunify the democratically-run island nation with China through peaceful means. Taiwan, on its part, vowed to defend the country and warned that Taiwanese people would not bow to pressure. 

Putin also touched upon the tense situation in the South China Sea, saying Russian stance was that there should not be any interference from non-regional powers.

"As for the South China Sea, yes, there are some conflicting and contradictory interests but the position of Russia is based on the fact that we need to provide an opportunity for all countries in the region, without interference from the non-regional powers, to have a proper conversation based on the fundamental norms of international law," he said.

Russia has maintained a neutral stance toward the Chinese claim in the disputed waters. Beijing claims the majority of the resource-rich South China Sea under its "nine-dash line" rule. However, neighboring countries like Vietnam and the Philippines have not agreed to the claim. 

Putin added that negotiations can resolve arguments. "It should be a process of negotiations, that’s how we should resolve any arguments, and I believe there is a potential for that, but it has not been fully used so far," he added.

Meanwhile, Taiwan has reacted to Chinese belligerence by warning Beijing of strong countermeasures if its forces "get too close to the island." In a report to parliament, Taiwan's defense ministry said their forces will adhere to the principle of "the closer they are to the island, the stronger the countermeasures." 

China had been sending a record number of warplanes into the air defense identification zone of Taiwan the last few weeks. The PLA had also conducted a beach landing drill on a province across Taiwan, which authorities defended as a "just" move to protect the peace.

President Vladimir Putin has said Russia is fulfilling all of its obligations to Europe in gas deliveries Russian President Vladimir Putin Photo: POOL / Mikhail METZEL