Putin exalts ties with China as key to international stability

Published February 23, 2023
RUSSIAN President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with China’s top diplomat Wang Yi before their meeting in Moscow on Wednesday.—Reuters
RUSSIAN President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with China’s top diplomat Wang Yi before their meeting in Moscow on Wednesday.—Reuters

MOSCOW: Russian President Vladimir Putin said during a meeting with China’s top diplomat on Wednesday that cooperation between Beijing and Moscow was important to “stabilise the international situation”.

“The cooperation between China and Russia on the world stage is very important to stabilise the international situation,” Putin said at the meeting with Wang Yi.

Their meeting comes as China is trying to appear as a mediator and is expected to reveal its own “political solution” to the Ukraine conflict this week. Beijing has sought to position itself as a neutral party while maintaining close ties with its ally Russia.

But Washington and Nato have said they are concerned China may be preparing to send arms and ammunition to help Russia pursue its campaign in Ukraine.

“With the Russian side, we are ready to strengthen our strategic partnership and our in-depth cooperation,” Wang Yi told Putin, according to a Russian translation of his statement.

China’s top diplomat insisted the partnership between the two countries was “not directed against any third country and does not give in to pressure”. Earlier he met with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov.

“Despite the high turbulence on the world stage, we are demonstrating our solidarity and the readiness to defend each other’s interests based on the respect for international law and the central role of the United Nations,” Lavrov said.

Wang Yi is on the last stop of a European tour during which he met with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba.

Ties reaching ‘new frontiers’

“We await a visit of the President of the People’s Republic of China to Russia, we have agreed on this,” Putin told Wang. “Everything is progressing, developing. We are reaching new frontiers,” Putin said.

President Vladimir Putin said that China’s Xi Jinping would visit Russia, saying relations had reached “new frontiers” amid US concerns that Beijing could provide material support to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Chinese weapons supplies to Russia would threaten a potential escalation of the Ukraine war into a confrontation between Russia and China on the one side and Ukraine and the US-led Nato military alliance on the other.

Wang told Putin that relations between the two countries had withstood the pressure from a volatile international situation and that crises offered certain opportunities.

The relationship between China and Russia, Wang said through an interpreter, was not directed against any third party but equally would “not succumb to pressure from third parties” — a clear jab at the United States.

“Together we support multi-polarity and democratisation in international relations,” Wang told Putin. “This fully meets the course of time and history; it also meets the interests of the majority of countries.”

Wang earlier met Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, saying that he looked forward to clinching new agreements during his visit to Moscow. There were no details on the agreements.

Published in Dawn, February 23rd, 2023

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