China lauds Russia relations and calls for strengthened Asia-Pacific role

Beijing official said relations with Moscow are at an historic high.

Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping
Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping during a meeting at the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing, China, on October 18, 2023 [Reuters]

China has heralded historically strong relations with Russia as it called for the pair to coordinate on security, stability and development in the Asia-Pacific region.

China and Russia should play a “better role as an anchor of stability in the changing circumstances of the century,” the foreign ministry in Beijing said in a statement issued on Wednesday following a visit to Moscow by Vice Foreign Minister Sun Weidong.

Although wary of damaging ties with the West, Beijing has refused to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and relations between the two BRICS states have remained warm amid the war.

Sun said in the statement that “under the strategic guidance of President Xi Jinping and President Putin … relations between the two countries are at the best period in history”.


Such statements will do little to quell suspicion in the West, which has viewed Moscow and Beijing with increased anxiety over the past two years as they ramp up ties in trade and defence.

Beijing has responded with anger as Chinese companies have been blacklisted by the United States and European Union for their role in helping Russia evade trade sanctions.

Moscow has looked to Beijing as a crucial economic lifeline amid the sanctions, while China has benefitted from cheap energy imports and access to vast natural resources.

At the same time, China’s interest in Russia’s sparsely populated, resource-rich, far-eastern region has long been viewed with some concern in Moscow, which sits 11 time zones westwards.

Sun stressed Chinese hopes of deepening “coordination” in the Asia-Pacific region, extolling the role of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), a Eurasian political, economic, international security and defence organisation established in 2001.

“Both sides should promote the SCO to better play its role as a ‘stabilizing anchor’ in the century-old changes, strengthen communication and coordination in Asia-Pacific regional affairs, and jointly safeguard regional security, stability and development,” he said.

During his trip to the Russian capital, the Chinese official also exchanged views with Moscow’s foreign minister Sergey Lavrov on the Ukraine crisis, the situation on the Korean peninsula, and other international and regional matters, the statement noted, without offering details.

Separately, a spokesperson for the Chinese foreign ministry said on Wednesday that its special representative for Eurasian affairs will tour Russia, Poland, Ukraine, Germany and France in early March to promote a political settlement of the Ukraine crisis.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies