Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi begins 4-day Russia visit for security talks

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 ruling Communist Party’s foreign affairs office, will be in Russia until Thursday for the annual strategic security consultation meetings in Moscow.

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”.

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The visit comes at the invitation of Nikolai Patrushev, the head of Russia’s Security Council, who co-chairs the bilateral strategic security consultation mechanism, according to the Chinese ministry.

Wang was expected to lay the groundwork for a possible visit by Putin to Beijing, in what would be his first visit to China since Russia invaded Ukraine, where he would join Chinese President Xi Jinping in the third Belt and Road summit in the Chinese capital next month.

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Wang’s Russia trip was confirmed by Beijing only hours after he wrapped up what China described as “open, substantive and constructive strategic negotiations” with Jake Sullivan, the White House national security adviser, in the central Mediterranean island nation of Malta over the weekend.


According to readouts from both the United States and China, the two sides spoke about relations between the two countries, Russia’s war in Ukraine and tensions between Washington and Beijing over Taiwan, the self-ruled island that has emerged as one of the most dangerous potential flashpoints between the two powers.

Last week, Russia’s foreign ministry spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, said Wang would also meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Monday to discuss Ukraine, as well as Asia-Pacific stability and security, according to Russian news agency Interfax.

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The meeting would address “a broad range of aspects of bilateral cooperation, including high- and summit-level contacts”, Interfax quoted Zakaharova as saying.

“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 amid separate, intensifying confrontations with the US and its allies.


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.

When Putin rolled out the red carpet for Kim on Wednesday at the Vostochny Cosmodrome, a rocket launch facility in the Russian Far East, Chinese vice-foreign minister Ma Zhaoxu held a meeting with Russian ambassador Igor Morgulov in Beijing.
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Kim Jong-un returns home with gifts of drones and bulletproof vest after week-long Russia tour

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.


Last month, Beijing sent defence chief Li Shangfu to Moscow, where he spoke at an international security conference and met with his counterpart Sergei Shoigu. They pledged to promote cooperation between the two armed forces, including on military technology, and to support each nation’s “core interests”.

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.


South China Morning Post

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