September 27, 2023

Wang Yi and Sergey Lavrov share a commitment to a ‘multipolar world’ in their discussion in Moscow.

China’s foreign minister has held talks with his Russian counterpart in Moscow as the two countries inch closer amid fraying ties with the West over the Ukraine war and the militarisation of the Pacific.

Wang Yi opened his talks with Sergey Lavrov by hailing “strategic cooperation” between the two countries and their shared commitment to a “multipolar world” and a “more just world order”.

“China and Russia, as leading global powers and permanent members of the UN Security Council, bear special responsibility for maintaining global strategic stability and global development,” Wang said.

The Moscow trip comes days after Wang held talks with US President Joe Biden’s National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan in Malta. Sino-US ties have deteriorated in recent years over issues ranging from trade to the Chinese military threat to Taiwan.

The Chinese top diplomat, who will be in Russia until Thursday, plans to hold strategic security consultations with officials there, the Chinese foreign ministry said in a statement.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov [Handout/Russian Foreign Ministry Press Service via AP Photo]

‘A balance of interests’

Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, emphasised “the importance of Russian-Chinese cooperation for ensuring justice in world affairs, for ensuring a balance of interests in the processes that are developing in a variety of directions”.

He noted that Russia and China will coordinate their efforts during this week’s UN General Assembly and other international forums.

Meanwhile, Yi stressed that Russia-China cooperation “isn’t directed against anyone and isn’t influenced by any other countries”.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin have vowed to strengthen bilateral ties, as Beijing has faced criticism from the West for not condemning Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2021.

China has refrained from taking sides in the conflict, saying that while a country’s territory must be respected, the West needs to consider Russia’s security concerns about NATO expansion.

It has accused the US of prolonging the fighting by providing arms to Ukraine, weaponry that the US says Kyiv needs to fight back against Russia.

However, in Malta, both Beijing and Washington described the talks between Wang and Sullivan as “candid, substantive and constructive”.

The relationship between the two countries, global and regional security issues, the Ukraine war and the Taiwan Strait were among the topics of discussion, the White House statement said, adding that it was eager to keep open lines of communication with China to manage the frequent tensions.

Moreover, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is scheduled to meet China’s vice president on Monday, the US Department of State said, as the world’s two biggest economies aim to repair ties.

Sullivan-Wang talks are aimed at laying the groundwork for a meeting of US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi later this year.

Wang’s trip to Moscow also comes a day after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un left Russia following a six-day visit that included talks with President Putin at a far eastern spaceport, visits to aircraft plants and inspections of nuclear-capable strategic bombers and an advanced warship.

Kim’s trip fueled Western concerns about an arms alliance that could boost Russian arsenals for fighting in Ukraine.

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