Wang Yi highlights cooperation with Lavrov, mediating on nuclear threat management as the West isolates Moscow
Published: Nov 16, 2022 12:23 AM
Photo: fmprc

Photo: fmprc

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Bali, Indonesia on Tuesday, reaffirming the sound momentum of bilateral exchanges and vowing to continue to expand cooperation between the two sides. 

The Ukraine crisis was also one of the issues on the agenda. Chinese experts believe that through the two separate days of talks with the US and Russia, China is trying to find an opportunity to reconcile their differences and manage the risk of nuclear war, despite the seemingly irreconcilable tensions.

The meeting came after Chinese President Xi Jinping's in-person meeting with US President Joe Biden on Monday, in which the Ukraine crisis was among the issues discussed. Lavrov heads Russia's delegation at the G20 Summit after the Kremlin said Russian President Vladimir Putin was unable to attend. 

According to the Xinhua News Agency, Wang said that China is willing to work with Russia to push forward their high-level exchanges and communication in various fields, deepen bilateral practical cooperation and facilitate personnel exchanges. 

Wang said the four points about what must be done and the four things the international community must do together proposed by Xi is China's basic principles in tackling the Ukraine issue. China noticed that Russia has recently reaffirmed the established position that "a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought," which shows Russia's rational and responsible attitude, he added.

China willingly saw Russia release the signal of dialogue and agree to resume the implementation of the Black Sea Grain Initiative. China will continue holding an objective and fair position and playing a constructive role in promoting peace talks, Wang said.

Lavrov stressed that Russia is always open to negotiations and dialogue when talking about the Ukraine issue.

Wang also said that China is ready to work with Russia and like-minded countries to firmly advance the process of world multipolarity, promote democracy in international relations, and safeguard the international system with the UN at its core.

Both sides reaffirmed that they will continue to strengthen communication and coordination within multilateral frameworks including the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and BRICS.

Zhang Hong, a research fellow from the Institute of Russian, Eastern European and Central Asian Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Tuesday that the meeting shows the importance China attaches to China-Russia bilateral relations, especially at a time when the US and West are isolating Moscow.

Citing sources close to the talks, the UK's Daily Telegraph reported that Britain and the EU plan to "confront" Lavrov at the summit and do "everything possible" to isolate Russia.

China and Russia wish the G20 summit to focus on global challenges that the summit should be paying attention to, such as economic issues and climate change, rather than using ideology and security to provoke splits and confrontation, Zhang added. 

But more importantly, China exchanging views with Russia over the Ukraine crisis shows that China can play an important role in narrowing the gap and promoting talks and peace when there is a lack of effective dialogue between Russia and the US-led clique, Zhang said. 

China is acting as a bridge, trying to narrow the conflict between Russia and the US on the Ukraine crisis and promote communication when Russia and the US are in a highly confrontational state, Zhang said. 

The rift between Russia and the US over the Ukraine crisis is already deep. China is trying to get Russia and the US to manage the risk of a nuclear war.

The obvious results may be hard to detect, but China is truly working on the issue, he added.