Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

China, Russia vow deeper coordination ahead of Putin visit

In this pool photo distributed by Sputnik agency, Russia's President Vladimir Putin, center, left, and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un, center, right, visit the Vostochny Cosmodrome in Amur region on Sept. 13, 2023. Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un both arrived at the Vostochny Cosmodrome in Russia's Far East, Russian news agencies reported on September 13, ahead of planned talks that could lead to a weapons deal.   (Mikhail Metzel/Pool/AFP/GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/TNS)
By Kari Lindberg Bloomberg News

China’s top diplomat pledged to strengthen his country’s “strategic coordination” with Russia, as the two nations lay the groundwork for a meeting of their leaders in Beijing next month.

Foreign Minister Wang Yi is making a three-day trip to Moscow for security and foreign policy talks with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, as the two sides continue to deepen ties.

China and Russia should “demonstrate their responsibilities as major powers, fulfill their due international obligations, and continue to strengthen strategic coordination,” Wang said on Monday, according to a statement from China’s Foreign Ministry. He added that neither side should be influenced by “third parties,” in a veiled reference to the U.S.

Russian President Vladimir Putin will visit China next month for the Belt and Road Initiative forum and meet with President Xi Jinping, Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev confirmed Tuesday, according to state-run Tass news service. That will be the Russian leader’s first foreign trip since the warrant for his arrest on alleged war crimes was issued by the International Criminal Court.

Russia’s Foreign Minister said both nations should “strengthen coordination and collaboration within multilateral frameworks,” such as the United Nations and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, according to the statement.

Their meeting takes place at the same time as the annual United Nations General Assembly in New York. China has sent Vice President Han Zheng — a largely ceremonial figure — to that huddle this year. In previous years, Xi or Wang have attended.

China has been Russia’s biggest supporter since Putin last year ordered the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, with Beijing offering both economic and diplomatic shelter.

At the same time, China has tried to cast itself as a peacemaker in the war, unveiling a vague 12-point peace blueprint in February. That plan has been rejected by Kyiv and the U.S., as it calls for a cease-fire would freeze Russian forces in place in Ukraine.