Despite repeated warnings from Washington against strategic or military cooperation between Beijing and Moscow, China has pledged to "join forces" with Russia, a "like-minded" partner, to defend national interests. The statement was made at the end of the first day of Wang Yi's trip to Moscow. Wang is the director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the Communist Party of China's Central Committee.
"The People’s Republic of China is ready to join forces with Russia to decisively stand up for national interests and promote mutually beneficial cooperation in all areas," Wang said Tuesday during a meeting with Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolay Patrushev, according to Russian state media Tass. On Wednesday, Wang met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in what appeared to be a warm and cooperative visit.
"During a virtual meeting at the end of last year our leaders [Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin] came up with a plan for further development of bilateral relations. We are ready to join forces with the Russian side, in accordance with the high-level agreements, to decisively stand up for national interests and virtues and promote mutually beneficial cooperation in all areas," the Chinese diplomat's statement said.
The Chinese diplomat also said China will "together with all like-minded partners further promote the development of the international order in the direction of equitable development."
"It’s necessary to unlock the potential of this mechanism, and it’s also necessary to develop new steps of strategic interaction in accordance with the changing situation in order to provide the necessary guarantees for national development," Wang added. "I want to fully join your appreciation of the strategic cooperation between the two countries."
The warm statements made during Wang's visit to Moscow are significant given the timing of the visit, as Russia seeks support from a powerful ally with a seat on the national security council. With the war in Ukraine approaching its one-year anniversary since the start of the invasion, Russia is in need of political backing.
The Kremlin praised China's stance on Ukraine, with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov expressing his appreciation for "China's balanced position on the Ukraine issue" and claiming that Russia and China share a vision regarding the crisis. However, it remains to be seen whether China will offer any specific support or take a more ambiguous stance, as Wang has stated that China will maintain an "objective and impartial stance" on the crisis and has expressed appreciation for Russia's willingness to negotiate a resolution.
Recently, Beijing has shown its interest in a peaceful resolution to the conflict in Ukraine through negotiations, according to Zero Hedge. This will likely be the focus of Xi's upcoming trip to Russia. While news of the future trip was reported on Tuesday, Putin confirmed on Wednesday that it will take place, marking a significant symbolic event since the start of the conflict in Ukraine.
"We are expecting the president of the People's Republic of China to visit Russia. We agreed on this earlier," Putin said as he welcomed Wang to the Kremlin. The Russian leaders also offered praise for the "new frontiers" that both countries are reportedly forging in an alliance, according to US News.
"We understand that [China] has a domestic political agenda, but we assume that as we tackle all the issues related to this agenda - with the National People's Congress, which is made up of Chinese deputies, who must also resolve serious personnel issues - we will implement our plans for personal meetings as well, which will give an additional impetus to our relations," the Russian president added.