China’s top diplomat says Beijing, Moscow to deepen ties

'China and Russia firmly support each other in safeguarding legitimate interests, adhere to the path of harmonious coexistence and win-win development.'

China’s top diplomat said Thursday Beijing would strengthen ties with Russia in areas of strategic communication and coordination, as the allies’ contacts grow closer after Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine last year.

Beijing says it is a neutral party in the war but its refusal to condemn the invasion has led many of Kyiv’s allies to accuse it of favouring Russia after emerging as Moscow’s most important ally in its current bout of international isolation.

East Asia Summit

Wang Yi met Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) meeting in Jakarta, where both will take part in an 18-nation East Asia Summit ministerial meeting Friday.

“The two sides should… strengthen strategic communication and coordination,” Wang was quoted as saying by the Chinese foreign ministry in a statement.

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“China and Russia firmly support each other in safeguarding legitimate interests, adhere to the path of harmonious coexistence and win-win development.”

Wang was representing Beijing in the Indonesian capital because Foreign Minister Qin Gang was ill, the foreign ministry said on Tuesday.

‘High-level exchanges’ between Moscow and Beijing

Lavrov said Moscow and Beijing were maintaining “high-level exchanges” and a March meeting between President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping in Russia had “injected strong momentum into bilateral relations”, the Chinese ministry’s readout said.

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“We have more and more areas where interests and plans converge, so I am looking at further development with optimism,” Lavrov said, according to a Russian foreign ministry statement.

China and Russia have ramped up economic cooperation and diplomatic contacts in recent years.

Both sides “exchanged views on strengthening coordination and cooperation under multilateral frameworks such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation,” Wang said, according to the Chinese foreign ministry statement.

Wang also said both countries would “guard against external interference” and support the ASEAN bloc to grasp “the correct direction of cooperation in East Asia, and maintain… stability in the region”.

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Xi warned last week against “colour revolutions” and a “new Cold War”, according to a state media readout of his virtual speech to a Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit in India.

Putin, in his first summit since a short-lived mutiny last month by the Wagner mercenary group, said Moscow would “continue to resist external pressure, sanctions and provocations”.

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