China’s top diplomat, Wang Yi, begins a four-day trip to Russia on Monday. Both nations are expected to pledge deeper mutual political trust, readying for a possible landmark visit by President Vladimir Putin to Beijing in October. The veteran diplomat, who heads the foreign ministry and the ruling Communist Party’s foreign affairs office, will meet Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev for annual security talks, the Chinese foreign ministry said in a statement. The visit comes as the world’s two largest economies continue to build more robust military and economic ties despite Western concerns over Moscow’s unprovoked war in Ukraine. The two sides want to maintain global stability and promote a multipolar world free of US dominance.
Wang’s arrival in Moscow marks a Chinese official’s first high-level trip to the Russian capital since Putin launched his military campaign in February. During his stay, the senior diplomat is expected to push for deepening strategic cooperation in areas such as energy projects and military technology. The two countries are also expected to promote bilateral and regional dialogue and cooperation further.
During his meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Wang is expected to discuss regional issues of shared interest and international and regional developments. It is also likely that the two officials will touch on issues related to Ukraine and reiterate their mutual opposition against terrorism and separatism in the region.
The meetings come days after the Wall Street Journal reported that Xi was preparing to travel to Russia for a summit with Putin in the coming months, as the Kremlin tries to stand up for its “no limits” partnership with China and portray itself as a standard bearer against a U.S.-led global order. China’s government has repeatedly defended Russia’s actions in Ukraine and pointedly refused to condemn the Putin war, which has killed tens of thousands in the country.
Xi is due to attend the third Belt and Road Forum in Shanghai in November, a crucial part of a broader effort by Beijing to promote its infrastructure ambitions. The forum will see dozens of government and private investors worldwide come together to discuss projects and investment opportunities in the area.
During the visit, Wang is also expected to reassure Moscow that China’s commitment to multilateralism and cooperation with Russia is not targeted at any third party. The remarks are likely to be in response to concerns by some in Washington and Europe that the Belt and Road is a means of containing China. China’s foreign minister said last week that the notion of a new Cold War was out of date. He said it is like sea foam that may catch the eye but soon dissipates.