Top NewsChina's top diplomat Wang Yi has pledged to strengthen...

China’s top diplomat Wang Yi has pledged to strengthen ties with Russia ahead of the Ukraine war anniversary.

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(CNN) China’s top diplomat Wang Yi said on Wednesday he hoped to reach a “new consensus” on advancing bilateral ties with Russia as he traveled to Moscow to meet with President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

“I am ready today to exchange further views with you, my old friend, on the progress of our mutual relations, and I think we will definitely reach a new consensus,” Wang told Lavrov on Wednesday, days before the Kremlin’s first anniversary. A full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

“No matter how the international situation changes, China is ready to maintain a positive trend with Russia in building a new kind of cooperative relationship between major powers.”

Congratulating Lavrov on his recent promotion to Chinese President Xi Jinping’s top foreign policy adviser, Wang said he was trying to “strengthen and deepen Sino-Russian friendship.”

Under Xi and Putin’s leadership, the two countries are maintaining their strategic commitment and — in an apparent dig at the United States — to “resolutely resist any unilateral or bullying behavior, and irresolutely protect their respective sovereignty, security and development interests.”

On Tuesday, Wang told Nikolai Patrushev, head of Russia’s security council and one of Putin’s closest allies, that Beijing’s ties with Moscow were “solid as a rock.”

“Sino-Russian relations are mature and solid as a rock, and will withstand the test of the changing international situation,” Wang was quoted as saying by Russian state-owned news agency Sputnik.

“We are willing to work with the Russian side to resolutely protect national interests and dignity and promote mutually beneficial cooperation in all areas in accordance with high-level agreements,” Wang said.

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Patrushev told Wang that China and Russia must stick together in the face of increasing pressure from the West, citing what he falsely described as “bloody events unleashed by the West in Ukraine.”

While trying to deny responsibility for tens of thousands of deaths, Russia has repeatedly accused the West of instigating the war in Ukraine — and Beijing has parroted the news, blaming Moscow’s unprovoked invasion on the United States and its NATO allies. Partners.

“In the context of the collective West’s campaign to contain Russia and China, further deepening of Russian-Chinese integration and contacts in the international arena is of particular importance,” Patrushev was quoted as saying by Sputnik.

Patrushev also said Russia and China should strive to create a new, “more fair” world order, according to Sputnik.

A Reading China’s foreign ministry said the two officials agreed to resist “Cold War attitudes, camp conflict and ideological opposition” — a thinly veiled criticism of the United States — and in an apparent reference to Beijing’s ambitions to make more efforts to “improve global governance” and reshape the world order in its favor.

The statement did not further say that Wang and Patrushev “exchanged their views” on the Ukraine issue.

Wang’s high-profile visit is widely believed to be a precursor to a meeting between Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping. In December 2022, Putin and Xi held a virtual meeting, in which the Russian leader described relations between the two countries as “the best in history”, saying they could “withstand all tests”, and invited Xi to visit Moscow in the spring of 2023. .

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On Tuesday, the Wall Street Journal reported that the two leaders would meet “in the coming months,” citing people familiar with the plan. Arrangements for the trip are “in the early stages” and the timing has not been finalized, with the trip likely in April or early May, the WSJ reported.

Concerns about China’s role

Wang’s visit comes after the US president Joe Biden makes a surprise visit to Ukraine Washington and its European allies on Monday came together over the past year to support the struggling country through both military and humanitarian aid and economic sanctions against Russia.

A few days later Wang arrived in Moscow American officials Concerns about how China’s continued partnership with Russia could impact the war in Ukraine have gone public — and hours after Putin delivered a keynote speech on the conflict, he announced the plans. Stop Russia’s meddling In its last nuclear arms deal with the US.

The Chinese leadership claimed neutrality in the conflict, but instead refused to condemn Russia’s invasion. Expanding business relationships and continuing large-scale joint military exercises, Including this week.

But during engagements in European cities in recent days, Wang has sought to present China as a supporter of peace and dialogue, saying Beijing will make its position known at the Munich Security Conference (MSC) on Saturday. “Political Solution” of crisis.

The comments drew skepticism from many Western leaders, who are closely watching whether China offers any support to its northern neighbors. Concerns Beijing is considering providing risky military aid to Russia.

On Tuesday, China’s Foreign Minister Qin Gang reiterated Beijing’s message on Ukraine at a security forum in the Chinese capital. China is “deeply concerned” that the conflict will “spin out of control” and will continue to push for peace talks and offer “Chinese wisdom” to bring about a political solution, he said.

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“At the same time, we call on the countries concerned to immediately stop adding fuel to the fire, stop blaming China, and stop promoting the Ukraine today, Taiwan tomorrow rhetoric,” he said, referring to the United States. Its partners.

CNN’s Anna Chernova contributed to this report

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