China’s Top Diplomat Meets Putin, Vows to ‘Deepen’ Partnership With Russia

China’s Top Diplomat Meets Putin, Vows to ‘Deepen’ Partnership With Russia
Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with China's Director of the Office of the Central Foreign Affairs Commission Wang Yi at the Kremlin in Moscow on Feb. 21, 2023. (Anton Novoderezhkin/Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images)
Andrew Thornebrooke
Madalina Vasiliu

Communist China is pledging to deepen its cooperation with Russia, further cementing the ties between the authoritarian powers.

China’s top diplomat, Wang Yi, met with Russian leader Vladimir Putin on Feb. 21, with the two expressing a desire to evolve the nations’ strategic partnership.

Wang told Putin that the myriad crises of the current era required the Chinese and Russian regimes “to continuously deepen our comprehensive strategic partnership.”

“The current international situation is indeed critical and complex, but the relationship between China and Russia is solid as a mountain and can stand the test of international risks,” Wang said.

His visit to Moscow marks the highest-level visit between the two powers since February 2022 when Putin visited Beijing and signed a “no limits” partnership with Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leader Xi Jinping.

Since then, the CCP has bolstered ties with Russia and provided it with invaluable economic support as Moscow pushes forward with its attempted conquest of Ukraine.

The two powers are also working hand-in-glove to increase military cooperation and are currently holding joint military exercises off the coast of South Africa.

Likewise, there’s a widespread belief among U.S. and NATO leaders that the CCP is providing other support for Russia’s illegal attempts to conquer Ukraine.

China-based actors reportedly launched a massive cyber attack on Ukrainian military and civilian infrastructure in the lead-up to Russia’s assault. The United States has blacklisted numerous Chinese firms for supporting the Russian military.
Similarly, U.S. officials announced earlier this month that Beijing was actively considering pleas from Moscow to provide materiel aid to Russia’s military, though such a move would make China the target of innumerable international sanctions. Moreover, China is bound by a treaty to defend Ukraine from aggression by nuclear powers.

Putin has expressed a desire to increase ties between Russia and China in a bid to avoid defeat in Ukraine and undermine the U.S.-led international order.

To that end, Putin has invited Xi to visit Moscow in the coming months and told Wang that he was looking forward to the visit and a deepening of the partnership.

It’s unclear when Xi will travel to Russia. Still, the communist leader is expected to make a so-called peace speech on Feb. 25, during which he'll call for a political settlement to the war in Ukraine involving the acceptance of Russian conquests.

When asked whether the United States was prepared to face the threat of a militarily unified China and Russia, Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Karsten Heckl said the U.S. military represented the broader international order and could meet any challenge.

“We are applicable in any theory,” Heckl told The Epoch Times.

“Whether it’s the neuroses of the Middle East, whether it’s the maritime approaches in the Far North, whether it’s Eastern Mediterranean. ... We are representatives of the rules-based international order.”

Reuters contributed to this report.
Andrew Thornebrooke is a national security correspondent for The Epoch Times covering China-related issues with a focus on defense, military affairs, and national security. He holds a master's in military history from Norwich University.
Related Topics