'Burning subjects' for Russia's Lavrov on China visit

They would "discuss a wide range of questions linked to bilateral cooperation


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Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. — Reuters
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. — Reuters

Published: Sun 7 Apr 2024, 8:19 PM

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will visit Moscow's key diplomatic and economic partner China on Monday and Tuesday, his ministry said in a statement.

"On April 8 and 9, the foreign affairs minister of the Russian Federation, Sergei Lavrov, will undertake an official visit in the People's Republic of China, during which discussions with... (his Chinese counterpart) Wang Yi are planned," it said on Sunday.

"An in-depth exchange of points of view is expected on a certain number of 'burning subjects'," the statement said, citing "the Ukrainian crisis and the situation in the Asia-Pacific region".

They would "discuss a wide range of questions linked to bilateral cooperation, as well as cooperation on the international scene," the statement added.

In Beijing, China's foreign ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning confirmed the "official" visit at Wang Yi's invitation.

Relations between the two nations have been strengthened since Russia's assault on Ukraine from February 2022.

Lavrov's trip follows this path of rapprochement, which saw Chinese leader Xi Jinping go to Moscow in March last year and declare "unlimited friendship" between Moscow and Beijing while condemning Western hegemony.

They met again in October on the sidelines of a Silk Roads forum in Beijing when Xi spoke of "a mutual political trust in constant growth" between Russia and China to a backdrop of total opposition to the United States.

After his re-election in March this year, Putin said the relationship was a "factor of stability", adding he enjoyed "very good personal relations" with Xi.

China sees itself as a neutral party in the Ukraine conflict, but it has become Russia's leading trade partner in the last two years and favours a political settlement to end the fighting.

Western nations regularly urge Beijing to play a greater role in restoring peace in Ukraine by using its influence over the Kremlin.

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