Wang Yi, a high-ranking member of China’s oppressive Communist government’s Politburo, arrived in Moscow on Tuesday after a week spent touring Europe.
Wang, the former foreign minister, is the first Chinese official to pay a state visit to Russia since the invasion of Ukraine began a year ago.
According to Russian state media, Wang will meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Wednesday. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday that Wang might also meet with Russian leader Vladimir Putin.
“The diplomat arrived in Moscow just days after U.S. officials went public with concerns about how China’s continuing partnership with Russia could have an impact on the war in Ukraine – and hours after Putin made a major speech on the conflict, in which he announced plans to suspend Russia’s involvement in its last remaining nuclear arms treaty with the U.S.,” the South China Morning Post (SCMP) observed.
After meeting with Wang, Putin said on Wednesday that his regime has “agreed” to a visit by Xi at an unspecified time.
“Everything is progressing, developing. We are reaching new frontiers,” Putin told Wang.
Wang, in turn, saluted the growing and strengthening ties between the authoritarian governments in Beijing and Moscow, reinforced by bilateral trade that could grow from $185 billion to $200 billion over the coming year. China is already Russia’s top customer for oil.
Wang said the partnership between Russia and China would “not succumb to pressure from third parties,” meaning the United States. This was probably meant as an oblique dismissal of U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s warning to Yang on Saturday that China must not provide Russia with material support for the Ukraine invasion.
“Together we support multi-polarity and democratization in international relations. This fully meets the course of time and history; it also meets the interests of the majority of countries,” Wang said.
Both the Russian and Chinese foreign ministries said Wang hoped to secure several major agreements during his visit to Moscow, but none were formally announced as of Wednesday morning.
Wang met with Nikolai Patrushev, secretary of the Russian Security Council, on Tuesday and said he anticipated more discussions about China and Russia’s mutual security objectives.
“Chinese-Russian relations are mature in character; they are rock solid and will withstand any test in a changing international situation,” Wang told Patrushev.
Patrushev responded that developing a “strategic partnership” with China is one of Russia’s highest priorities.
“In the context of a campaign that is being waged by the collective West to contain both Russia and China, the further deepening of Russian-Chinese cooperation and interaction in the international arena is of particular importance,” he said, blaming the Western world for staging the “bloody events in Ukraine” to keep Russia under its domination.
“All that is being done against Russia and China and to the detriment of developing nations,” he told Wang.
Patrushev also promised Russia’s “continued support for Beijing over the issues of Taiwan, Xinjiang, Tibet and Hong Kong.”