Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi begins 4-day Russia visit for security talks
- Beijing says top diplomat’s second visit to Moscow since February is ‘routine activity’
- Meetings after talks with the White House national security adviser in Malta and ahead of a possible visit by Russian President Vladimir Putin next month
Beijing and Moscow were expected to step up their strategic coordination as China’s top diplomat Wang Yi kicked off a four-day visit to Russia for security talks ahead of a possible visit by Russian President Vladimir Putin next month.
China’s foreign ministry announced on Monday that Wang, the Chinese foreign minister and a Politburo member who heads the Communist Party’s foreign affairs office, will be in Russia until Thursday for the annual strategic security consultation meetings.
Foreign ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning said Wang’s visit to Russia was a “routine activity” under the strategic security consultation mechanism.
As close neighbours and comprehensive strategic partners, China and Russia “have maintained close communication on major strategic and global issues of common interest”, Mao said, adding that during Wang’s trip, the two sides would hold “in-depth communication on important topics related to the strategic security interests of the two countries”.
Wang was expected to lay the groundwork for a possible visit by Putin to Beijing where he would join Chinese President Xi Jinping in the third Belt and Road summit in the Chinese capital next month. It would be Putin’s first visit to China since he invaded Ukraine.
Last week, Russia’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Wang would also meet Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Monday to discuss Ukraine, as well as Asia-Pacific stability and security.
The meeting will address “a broad range of aspects of bilateral cooperation, including high- and summit-level contacts”, Zakaharova said, according to the Interfax news agency.
“The strengthening of cooperation on the world stage with emphasis on the joint work at the UN, Brics, the SCO, the G20, Apec and other forums will be highlighted,” Zakharova said.
This week’s trip is Wang’s second visit to Moscow since February, and it followed North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s visit to Russia over the past week. During his first overseas trip in more than four years, Kim met Putin and visited key military and technology sites, stressing the deepening defence cooperation between the two sides.
Beijing and Moscow, which share a mutual distrust of Washington, have appeared to play up an image of unity. China has seen its rivalry with the US grow increasingly confrontational, while Russia has faced mounting pressure from the West since its invasion of Ukraine.
Ma told Morgulov that Beijing was “willing to work with Russia … to steadily promote cooperation in all fields and push forward the relations in the right direction at all times”, according to a readout by the Chinese foreign ministry.
Beijing and Moscow began their bilateral strategic security mechanism in the early 2000s. Since then, senior diplomats of the two countries have met almost every year.
Beijing has said that the mechanism was a joint effort to tackle challenges from the “colour revolution” and the “three forces” of separatism, terrorism and extremism, as well as to ensure their own domestic security and stability.