Home » Wang Yi Meets with Putin, Says China-Russia Relations Are Mature and Resilient – WSJ

Wang Yi Meets with Putin, Says China-Russia Relations Are Mature and Resilient – WSJ

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Wang Yi Meets with Putin, Says China-Russia Relations Are Mature and Resilient – WSJ

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Chinese leader Xi Jinping would visit Moscow. The two countries are committed to promoting the resilience of the Sino-Russian partnership at a time when their antagonism with the West is intensifying.

During a meeting in Moscow on Wednesday with China‘s top foreign affairs official, Wang Yi, Putin said the two countries had reached an agreement on Xi’s visit to Russia.

Earlier this week, The Wall Street Journal reported that Mr. Xi planned to visit Moscow in April or May, possibly to coincide with Russia’s Victory Day celebrations over Nazi Germany. Putin’s speech on Wednesday did not specify the timing of Xi’s visit.

Russia and China have deepened their partnership since Russia invaded Ukraine a year ago, unnerving the United States and its Western allies. Both countries declared that the friendship between Russia and China has “no limit”. China has provided an economic lifeline to Russia, which is grappling with Western sanctions.

Putin told Wang Yi on Wednesday that today’s international relations are complicated, and cooperation between Russia and China is very important for stabilizing the international situation.

Wang Yi responded that China-Russia relations have withstood the test of the international situation.

He said through an interpreter that China is willing to work with Russia to maintain strategic focus, deepen political mutual trust, strengthen strategic coordination, expand practical cooperation, safeguard the legitimate interests of the two countries, and play a constructive role in promoting world peace and development.

The meeting came on the final day of an extraordinary series of diplomatic events. The events reflect a global scramble among major powers as the war in Ukraine reorders diplomatic priorities. The meeting also highlighted ongoing animosity between the West and China and Russia, despite some efforts by China to counter it.

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Wang Yi is wrapping up a week-long trip to Europe aimed at rebuilding China‘s diplomatic ties after a three-year quarantine due to the COVID-19 pandemic and repairing damaged ties with some European countries concerned about China‘s support for Russia.

U.S. President Joe Biden, who visited Ukraine and Poland this week, met in Warsaw on Wednesday with leaders of central and eastern European countries that have been courted by Russia, China and the United States. The Russian invasion of Ukraine has fueled fears of Russian aggression in some central and eastern European countries, as well as fears of closer ties with another authoritarian state, such as China.

After an unannounced visit to Kiev on Monday, Biden used the visit to reassure the countries of the United States‘ support in a world of shifting geopolitical alliances.

“You know better than anyone what is at stake in this conflict, not just for Ukraine, but for the freedom of democracies throughout Europe and around the world,” Biden told the leaders, once Russia’s sphere of influence but Now a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

China says it is seeking to play an active role in helping to end the war in Ukraine. Chinese officials hope Xi’s planned trip to Moscow will lay the groundwork for multilateral peace talks, according to people familiar with the matter. Such talks would provide a platform for China to reiterate its opposition to the use of nuclear weapons.

However, a fiery speech by Putin on Tuesday highlighted the serious challenges facing China‘s peace initiative, an effort that has drawn skepticism in European countries given Beijing’s support for Moscow since the war began. Putin also said Moscow would suspend its participation in New Start, the last major remaining nuclear arms control treaty between the United States and Russia.

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Asked about Putin’s move, Biden said it was a “big mistake.”

Putin’s speech came a day after Russia conducted a test launch of a new Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile, a heavy-duty missile capable of carrying multiple warheads. But the test at the Plesetsk launch site, nearly 500 miles north of Moscow, failed, U.S. officials said. Putin demonstrated Sarmat in 2018, declaring that it could reach anywhere in the world. The Russians gave advance notice of this week’s test under New START and a 1988 agreement that required notification of ballistic missile tests.

Putin vowed on Tuesday to keep fighting, lashing out at what he called Western aggression. The Russian government has mobilized 300,000 troops and has pushed the domestic economy into a state of war. Western officials said they believed the Kremlin expected and was preparing for a protracted fight.

On Wednesday, Putin appeared at a Moscow stadium for a large concert and rally organized by pro-Kremlin groups. Thursday is a public holiday in Russia, Defender of the Fatherland Day.

Ukraine has said it will consider China‘s peace initiative, but has stressed that any proposal must guarantee Ukraine’s territorial integrity.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on Tuesday that Wang had shared with him key elements of China‘s proposed peace plan, but he would wait to see the full package before drawing conclusions.

Russia’s foreign ministry praised China‘s stance that it hopes to resolve the issue peacefully through negotiations.

“We welcome China‘s readiness to play an active role in resolving the crisis in Ukraine, while we clearly see that today’s Kiev regime is not ready,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharov told a news conference on Wednesday. Acting independently, it cannot afford to be an independent player on the international stage.”

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Russia and China have expressed a mutual interest in challenging the US-dominated world order. In his speech on Tuesday, Putin accused the West of trying to crush Russia.

China provides vital economic support to Russia, which is under Western sanctions for its invasion of Ukraine. Speaking with Wang Yi on Wednesday, Putin said he believed trade between Russia and China would soon reach $200 billion.

The strengthening of Russia-China relations has heightened concerns that China could provide Russia with lethal weapons at a time when Russia is struggling to make inroads on the Ukrainian battlefield.

China has not yet condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and remains its most important international partner. China has sold microchips and other technological equipment that can be used to make weapons to Russia. While U.S. officials say China has not yet sold arms to Russia, they believe China is considering doing so and have warned China against supplying Russia with weapons and ammunition.

Over the weekend, Mr. Wang met with Secretary of State Antony Blinken in an attempt to stabilize relations between the two countries after a Chinese balloon entered U.S. airspace. Wang Yi described the U.S. response to the balloon as “almost hysterical.”

Russian officials gave Wang Yi the VIP treatment during his visit. During the meeting with Putin, Wang Yi and Putin sat close together at an oval table, which is not the case when Putin holds meetings with other dignitaries, sometimes Putin will be a few meters away from the guests.

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