Russia Ukraine conflict

Amid tension with US, Putin hails China ties and welcomes role for Beijing in Ukraine

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As the US kept a wary eye on this meeting, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin hailed Russian-Chinese ties after he met China’s top diplomat Wang Yi, who pledged that Beijing would play a “constructive” role in Ukraine war diplomacy, an approach which Putin “welcomed”.

Putin met with Wang in Moscow and lauded the strength of the ties between Russia and China. He said: “Russian-Chinese relations are developing as we planned in previous years, everything is moving forward and developing. We are reaching new milestones,” state news agency TASS reported.

China’s leader Xi Jinping is making preparations to visit Moscow to hold a summit with Putin within the coming months, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Ukraine

The two sides discussed the Ukraine topic, and Wang told Putin that China will play a “constructive” role with the aim of reaching a political solution for the conflict in Ukraine.

“China will, as it always has, firmly adhere to an objective and impartial stance, and play a constructive role in the political settlement of the crisis,” state news agency Xinhua quoted Wang as saying.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Putin welcomed China’s willingness to take on a more active role in resolving the conflict in Ukraine and valued Beijing’s “balanced approach” towards the issue.

“We welcome China's willingness to play a positive role in resolving the Ukrainian crisis,” said Zakharova.

Washington is closely watching this meeting and its outcomes; as US Secretary of State Antony Blinken had, earlier this week, pointedly warned China against supplying weapons to Russia to be used in the latter’s war on Ukraine. In turn, Beijing responded with its own warning to Washington against “further escalation”.

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg also expressed concern that China might arm Russia against Ukraine. “We are also increasingly concerned that China may be planning to provide lethal support for Russia’s war.”

Frayed ties with US

Putin discussed with Wang the ties between the two countries against the backdrop of international politics on the world stage, stressing that amidst escalating international tensions “cooperation between China and Russia on the global arena is very important for stabilizing the international situation.”

Wang said: “No matter how the international situation changes, the Chinese side hopes that its relations with Russia, which are categorized as a new type of relationship between major powers, will develop with sound momentum.”

The top Chinese diplomat’s visit comes at a critical juncture for both Russia and China in terms of their relationships with the West, and especially, the US.

Russia’s relations with the US and Europe are at their lowest point after its invasion of Ukraine, and Moscow further aggravated Washington this week when it suspended its participation in the nuclear arms control treaty, START.

Meanwhile, Beijing and Washington are locked in a bitter dispute involving what has become dubbed as the “Chinese spy balloon” incident. Also, tensions remain high over senior US officials’ visits to Chinese-claimed Taiwan.

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Read more:

NATO’s Stoltenberg says concerned China will arm Russia

Putin accuses West of fanning flames of conflict, vows to continue war in Ukraine

China ‘deeply concerned’ over Ukraine conflict, vows to ‘promote dialogue’

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