China’s top diplomat Wang Yi said relations with Russia were “solid as rock” even as Beijing moves to portray itself as a neutral actor that can broker peace in Ukraine, writes Bloomberg.
In a meeting with Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev, Wang said China sought to “promote mutually beneficial cooperation in all areas” as the two nations defend national interests.
Relations between China and Russia are “solid as rock and will stand the trials of the changing international situation,” Wang said in comments broadcast on Russian state television.
Wang’s visit to Moscow roughly a year after Russian leader Vladimir Putin ordered a full-scale invasion of Ukraine shows that China has little intention of abandoning its staunch diplomatic partner despite Beijing’s efforts to limit the damage caused by the war. China has said it will soon release details of a plan to bring peace in Ukraine, a proposal met with skepticism in the US and Europe.
The Wall Street Journal reported that Xi Jinping was preparing to visit Moscow in the coming months to push for multiparty peace talks and allow China to reiterate its calls that nuclear weapons not be used. A potential visit has been floated for months, with Putin telling Xi during a December video call that he looked forward to welcoming the Chinese leader to Russia in the spring.
Beijing has also repeatedly defended some of Russia’s reasons for going to war — most prominently to resist the expansion of NATO — while insisting it doesn’t support the invasion itself.
While Beijing remains close to Russia, the costs of their partnership have become more apparent of late. Beyond the near-term damage to the global economy, China is also increasingly seen in the US and Europe as a strategic competitor that must be deterred from its own ambitions to take control of Taiwan — a prospect that makes Beijing more vulnerable to multilateral export controls, investment restrictions and other measures that could thwart its long-term growth prospects.
In a phone call with Lavrov in early January, new Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang said ties were based on “Three Nos:” no alliance, no confrontation and no targeting of any third party. Chinese participants at a security conference in Germany last weekend also sought to downplay the significance of a “no-limits” partnership that Xi and Putin agreed to last year.
In Moscow Wang and Patrushev affirmed the nations are aligned in pushing back against the US and allies, pledging to “jointly practice true multilateralism, oppose all forms of unilateral bullying, and promote democracy in international relations and a multi-polar world.”
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