Chinese top diplomat to start strategic security talks in Russia; channel vital to smooth high-level exchanges, ensuring mutual support
Published: Sep 18, 2023 09:56 PM
China Russia Photo: VCG

China Russia Photo: VCG

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Monday began his four-day trip to Russia to attend the 18th round of China-Russia strategic security consultation, with a range of bilateral and multilateral issues related to security expected to be discussed, following his two-day meeting with US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan in Malta over the weekend. 

Chinese experts said on Monday that the strategic consultation, as an institutionalized channel between China and Russia, plays a crucial role as a smooth bilateral high-level exchange channel, as well as in ensuring mutual support in the complex international situation, and also framing the direction of China-Russia interactions for the rest of the year, and paving the way for a possible head-of-state meeting. 

The wide range of topics also reflects the broad and deep common interests of Russia and China in the just, rational and sustainable economic and security order promoted by the Global South, as well as the profound impact of Beijing-Moscow ties on the promotion of multilateralism and the democratization of the international order, experts noted. 

In a brief statement on Monday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning announced the Chinese top diplomat's Russia visit from September 18 to 21, at the invitation of Secretary Nikolai Patrushev of the Security Council of the Russian Federation.

China and Russia are each other's biggest neighbors and comprehensive strategic partners of coordination for a new era. Both countries are permanent members of the UN Security Council and major emerging economies. The two countries have maintained close communication on major issues of mutual interest that have strategic and overarching significance, Mao said during Monday's routine press briefing.

Wang's trip to Russia is a regular activity within the framework of the strategic security consultation mechanism and aimed at delivering on the important common understandings between our two countries' heads of state, advancing bilateral ties, and having in-depth communication on major issues that bear on the strategic security interests of the two countries, the spokesperson noted. 

Wang, also a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and director of the Office of the Central Commission for Foreign Affairs, is expected to meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and discuss the Ukraine crisis, issues of security in the Asia Pacific and various aspects of bilateral cooperation, according to the TASS news agency on Monday. 

According to TASS, it is possible that the two top diplomats will express rejection of the Western bloc's confrontational policy and its attempts to contain the development of nations through sanctions.  The Russian Foreign Ministry said that the two ministers will also raise issues of stability and security in the Asia Pacific, the TASS report noted.

The two sides will also touch upon the contacts on "high and the highest levels," TASS reported. According to the media outlet's reports in July, Russian President Vladimir Putin intends to visit China in October, planning it to coincide with a Belt and Road forum.

The consistent alignment of China and Russia at the strategic level helps both sides to support each other in the complex international situation and to respond more effectively to different challenges, Li Haidong, a professor at the China Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times on Monday.

As can be seen from the possible topics of discussion, China and Russia have a generalized communication and a genuine mutual deep understanding of the core issues of their respective concerns, which has laid a firm foundation for coordination and cooperation on different areas at the strategic level, Li said. 

The strategic channel is of vital importance in maintaining a smooth high-level communication channel, Li said, noting the channel is also crucial for framing the specific direction of China-Russia interactions for the rest of the year.

Wang's visit comes amid the convening of the high-level week of the 78th UN General Assembly in New York. According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, during Wang's visit, special attention will be paid to the strengthening of cooperation on the international arena and coordination of work within the UN, BRICS, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), G20, APEC and other platforms.

At a time when the world's security and economic landscape is at a crossroads between increasing fragmentation and better integration, China and Russia need to work together to revitalize the central function of the UN in global security affairs, as well as to play a constructive role in the reconstruction of security in the Asia-Pacific region and the European region, which can only be achieved through coordinated cooperation, Li said.

Zhang Hong, an associate research fellow at the Institute of Russian, Eastern European and Central Asian Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, believes that at a time when both China-US and Russia-US relations are at odds, the strategic dialogue between China and Russia is beneficial to stabilizing the global order.

However, Zhang stressed that China-Russia cooperation is in fact not directed against any third party and is not confrontational in nature.

Collaboration between China and Russia on bilateral and multilateral platforms is aimed at promoting the democratization of the international order and supporting multilateralism, which helps to raise the level of global governance, Zhang told the Global Times on Monday.