Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (left) and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi exchange documents during a signing ceremony at Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing on Tuesday. Photo: AFP
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov kicked off his visit to Beijing on Tuesday, discussing the Ukraine crisis
and bilateral cooperation with Chinese President Xi Jinping
and his Chinese counterpart.
After meeting with Lavrov, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said the Ukraine crisis should be solved through dialogue rather than violence.
China welcomed potential Russia-US-EU-Ukraine talks on the issue, Wang said, adding that the key to success of the talks is to take care of the reasonable interests and concerns of all sides.
As a friend of the Ukrainians, China does not want continued volatility in Ukraine, Wang said.
Li Xing, professor of Russian and Asian affairs from Beijing Normal University, said that Lavrov's trip is mainly a preparation for Russian President Vladimir Putin's visit in next month.
"There might be some major adjustment in Russia's foreign policy after the Ukrainian crisis. Russia is ready to expand and deepen the bilateral strategic and cooperative partnership with China, and what happened in Ukraine is speeding up the process," Li said.
Apart from stating the Chinese position in the Ukraine crisis, Xi called for enhancing political mutual support between the two countries.
Bilateral relations have an irreplaceable role in maintaining world stability, said Xi.
Xi made Russia his first destination after taking office last year and attended the Sochi Olympics in March, becoming China's first leader to attend a major overseas sports event.
At a news conference with Wang, Lavrov accused Kiev of "spreading lies" that Russia is dispatching pro-Moscow forces to Ukraine's southeast.
"This is a total lie that supposes that those residents there are completely incapable of protesting of their own will."
Lavrov added that Russia "appreciates China's objective, balanced and responsible stance" on the Ukraine issue.
Meanwhile, a Russian warplane made nearly a dozen low passes near a US navy destroyer in the Black Sea over the weekend, which may add new tension between the two countries.
Things won't get out of hand when it comes to military confrontation in the Black Sea, Li said.
"Although Russia is showing its firm determination on the issue of Crimea, in the end, this is only a diplomatic gesture."
Both the US and Russia are trying to make joint efforts for a peaceful settlement of the issue through diplomatic means. Yet in the meantime, they need to use their military power as support, Li said.
Top diplomats from Russia, Ukraine, the US and the EU have scheduled a meeting on Thursday in Geneva, the latest diplomatic step to ease the worst European security crisis in decades.