The head of Chinese diplomacy, Wang Yi, said Thursday in Jakarta that China would strengthen its ties in strategic communication and coordination with Russia, to which Beijing provides diplomatic and economic support.
Chinese leaders see Russia as a useful partner to counterbalance Western influence on the international scene and want to be neutral in the face of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which has earned Moscow economic sanctions from Western countries.
Wang Yi, the main official for foreign affairs in the Chinese Communist Party – a hierarchical rank higher than that of the foreign minister – met with the head of Russian diplomacy Sergei Lavrov on the sidelines of a meeting of the Association of Nations of the Southeast Asia (ASEAN) in Jakarta, before a meeting on Friday of foreign affairs officials from 18 countries, including those in Beijing and Moscow, as well as Washington.
“Both sides should (…) strengthen strategic communication and coordination,” Wang said in a statement from the Chinese Foreign Ministry.
They “firmly support each other in safeguarding their legitimate interests and adhere to the path of harmonious coexistence and win-win development,” he added, according to the same source.
Wang Yi represents China in Jakarta in place of Foreign Minister Qin Gang, the latter having withdrawn for “health reasons”, according to his ministry.
For his part, Sergei Lavrov said that Moscow and Beijing maintain “high-level exchanges” and that a meeting in March between President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping in Russia had “injected a strong dynamic into bilateral relations”. , according to the press release from the Chinese ministry.
“We have more and more areas where interests and projects converge. I therefore look forward to the future with optimism, ”said Mr. Lavrov, according to a press release from the Russian Foreign Ministry.
The two sides “exchanged their views on strengthening coordination and cooperation in multilateral frameworks such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization” (SCO), established in 2001, of which the two countries are founding members, said Mr. Wang again, according to the Chinese ministry.
The head of Chinese diplomacy also indicated that China and Russia will “guard themselves against external interference” and support ASEAN to seize “the right direction of cooperation in East Asia and maintain … the stability in the region.
Last week, Chinese President Xi Jinping called for “safeguarding regional peace” during a virtual SCO summit.
Mr. Putin for his part assured during this summit that Moscow “would continue to resist external pressures, sanctions and provocations”.