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China and Russia Strengthen Ties Amid Fraying Relations with the West



China’s foreign minister, Wang Yi, has held talks with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, in Moscow, as the two countries seek to strengthen their alliance in the face of fraying relations with the West. The discussions come at a time when China and Russia are facing increased scrutiny over their actions in the Ukraine war and the militarisation of the Pacific.

Opening the talks, Wang highlighted the “strategic cooperation” between China and Russia, emphasizing their shared commitment to a multipolar world and a more just world order. He stated that both countries have a special responsibility in maintaining global strategic stability and global development.

This visit to Moscow follows Wang’s recent talks with Jake Sullivan, United States President Joe Biden’s National Security Adviser, in Malta. The deteriorating Sino-US ties have been driven by various issues, including trade disputes and concerns over the Chinese military threat to Taiwan.

The Chinese foreign ministry has stated that Wang plans to hold strategic security consultations with Russian officials during his visit, which will continue until Thursday. Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, stressed the importance of Russian-Chinese cooperation for ensuring justice in world affairs and a balance of interests.

China’s President Xi Jinping and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin have both expressed their commitment to strengthening bilateral ties, especially in the face of criticism from the West over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. China has taken a neutral stance on the conflict, urging the West to consider Russia’s security concerns about NATO expansion.

Efforts have been made by both China and the US to reduce tensions. Wang’s talks with Sullivan were described as “candid, substantive and constructive,” with discussions covering topics such as the relationship between the two countries, global and regional security issues, the Ukraine war, and the Taiwan Strait. The US government expressed its desire to maintain open lines of communication to better manage the relationship with China.

The talks in Moscow and the discussions between Wang and Sullivan are seen as laying the groundwork for a meeting between President Biden and President Xi later this year. Experts believe that the frequency of high-level exchanges between the two nations indicates purposeful efforts to improve relations and set the stage for a productive meeting.

Wang’s visit to Moscow coincides with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un‘s departure from Russia following a six-day visit. The trip included talks with President Putin and inspections of military equipment. Western concerns have been raised about a potential arms alliance between Russia and North Korea, which could further exacerbate the situation in Ukraine.

Rachel Adams

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