China must advance its relations with Russia as the world becomes more turbulent, foreign minister Qin Gang says.
Speaking to reporters at an annual parliamentary session in Beijing on Tuesday, Qin said the close interactions between both leaders – President Xi Jinping and President Vladimir Putin – provided the basis for China-Russia relations.
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Qin defended the close friendship between China and Russia, a relationship closely watched by the West in light of the war in Ukraine. He said the ties between Beijing and Moscow “set an example for global foreign relations”.
“With China and Russia working together, the world will have a driving force. The more unstable the world becomes the more imperative it is for China and Russia to steadily advance their relations,” said Qin.
“Close contact” exists between the leadership of the two countries, he added, with “head of state” relations forming the anchor of the relationship.
“The strategic partnership … will surely grow from strength to strength,” Qin said.
‘Pay great attention’
The Kremlin said on Tuesday the United States was driving the Ukraine conflict and welcomed China’s growing diplomacy.
“Such a large, gigantic, powerful and authoritative country like China cannot but have its own voice on the issues that are high on the world agenda,” said Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov.
“We pay great attention to all the considerations that we hear from Beijing from our colleagues,” he added, addressing China’s plan for a peaceful settlement in Ukraine.
Earlier, Qin cited “an invisible hand” directing the war in Ukraine, without identifying any nation. But Peskov was more direct in his comments.
“This is the hand of the United States of America … Washington does not want this war to end, Washington wants and will do everything to continue this war. This is the visible hand,” he said.
Qin did not give a definite answer when asked if Xi would visit Russia after China’s parliament session, which goes on for one more week.
Asked whether it is possible that China and Russia would abandon the US dollar and euro for bilateral trade, Qin said that countries should use whatever currency is efficient, safe and credible.
“Currencies should not be the trump card for unilateral sanctions, still less a disguise for bullying or coercion,” he said.
China, which has refused to name Russia as the aggressor in the Ukraine conflict, has often criticised the United States for bullying other countries with unilateral sanctions.