China has hailed the “resilience” of its ties with Russia, renewing its pledge to deepen bilateral “strategic coordination” as Moscow is left increasingly isolated over its invasion of Ukraine. The remarks from vice foreign minister Le Yucheng underlined the Chinese stance when he met Russian ambassador Andrey Denisov in Beijing on Monday. “No matter how the international situation evolves, China will, as always, strengthen strategic coordination with the Russian side to achieve win-win cooperation and jointly safeguard common interests,” Le told Denisov, a statement on the Chinese foreign ministry website said. Bilateral trade increased by almost 30 per cent in the first quarter of this year to cross US$38 billion, according to Le, a top-ranking vice-minister and fluent Russian speaker. It “fully demonstrates the great resilience … of the cooperation between the two countries”, he told the Russian diplomat. In response, Denisov said Moscow treated China ties as a diplomatic priority, and was willing to “further deepen the comprehensive strategic coordination and all-round practical cooperation … so as to safeguard international justice and equity”, according to the Chinese readout. The meeting came a day before a UN General Assembly debate on a draft resolution aiming to limit the veto power of the Security Council’s five permanent members, including Russia, according to Agency France-Presse. The resolution was backed by the United States – the only permanent member to do so – and some 50 other countries. China, France and Britain are the other council members with veto power. The US and its allies continue to fiercely criticise China over its close relations with Russia, and refusal to denounce the February 24 invasion of Ukraine. Russia has shown no signs of scaling back the assault, now in its eighth week. But Chinese ambassador to the US Qin Gang on Monday challenged the assertion about an emerging “Beijing-Moscow Axis” and defended Beijing’s self-proclaimed neutrality on the Ukraine war. “Had similar conflicts happened in other places or between other countries, China’s position would be no different,” he claimed in an opinion piece on the website of the conservative National Interest journal. Chinese ambassador to US defends close Russia ties, criticises sanctions In another bid to tone down China’s pro-Russia image, Qin said last month that while Beijing and Moscow did have a “no-limits” partnership, there was still a “bottom line” to it – in the form of the UN charter . Moscow has so far been defiant in the face of growing Western sanctions and accusations about its slaughter of Ukrainians, with over 2,000 civilian deaths so far, according to UN estimates. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov hailed the “no-limits” partnership when he visited China last month, in what was his first overseas trip since Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. He said Beijing and Moscow were creating a “multipolar, just, democratic world order” against Western hegemony.