Chinese FM Wang Yi to visit Russia for security talks

China’s top diplomat Wang Yi will begin a four-day visit to Russia for security talks on Monday, his foreign ministry said, the latest in a series of high-level visits and phone calls between the two sides.

China and Russia are strategic allies, with both countries frequently touting their “no limits” partnership, and economic and military cooperation.

They came even closer after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February last year, which China has refused to criticise.

China’s foreign ministry said in a statement Monday that Wang would hold strategic security consultations at the invitation of Nikolai Patrushev, secretary of Russia’s security council.

In an earlier briefing, the Russian foreign ministry said Wang would meet with his counterpart Sergei Lavrov, and the two planned to “focus on efforts to strengthen collaboration on the international scene”.

“There will be a detailed exchange of views on issues related to a settlement in Ukraine, as well as ways of ensuring stability and security in the Asia-Pacific region,” a spokesperson said.

China has sought to position itself as a neutral party in the Ukraine war, while offering Moscow a vital diplomatic and financial lifeline as its international isolation deepens.

But it has stopped short of overt military involvement or sending lethal arms to Russia.

Last month, Chinese Defence Minister Li Shangfu visited Russia and Belarus and called for closer military cooperation.

In recent months, the two countries have carried out joint sea and air patrols, the latter causing South Korea to deploy fighter jets as a precaution.

Their high-level contacts look set to ramp up, with an aide to Vladimir Putin saying in July that the Russian president was planning to visit China in October.

In March, President Xi Jinping made a state visit to Moscow and declared that relations between the two countries were entering a new era.

At a meeting at the annual Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin told Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Guoqing that ties between Russia and China “have reached an absolutely unprecedented, historical level”.