In a statement posted on China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), President Xi Jinping warmly welcomed Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and welcomed the upcoming visit by Russian President Putin.
“I attach great importance to China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership … At present, the China-Russia relations are at the best time in the history and have transcended the bilateral scope, which have not only benefited the two countries and two peoples, but also played an irreplaceable and important role in maintaining world peace and stability,” Xi said.
“Both sides should transfer the high-level political mutual trust into more extensive achievements of practical cooperation, maintain the close high-level exchanges and strategic communications, enhance mutual political support, speed up the cooperation in major strategic projects, and strengthen the coordination and cooperation in international and regional affairs,” Xi added.
The MFA website said that Lavrov briefed Xi on the Ukrainian developments and that Xi “stated China’s stance and positions,” but the MFA provided no details. Putin will arrive in China in May on a state visit, and will also participate in the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) in Shanghai.
The Diplomat, a Tokyo-based publication specializing in Asia carried a lengthy analysis of the meeting by its Associate Editor Shannon Tiezzi, where he reports that Xi Jinping called for “enhanced political mutual support” between Russia and China, Lavrov responded that the two countries “bilateral strategic partnership of coordination has global influence.”
Tiezzi pointed out that China “backs Russia” on international issues such as opposing military action against Syria at the UN in expectation that Russia will do the same on issues and that this prevents either country from becoming “isolated” in the face of opposition from the West. But this is not just “tit for tat” diplomacy, The Diplomat says; rather, both China and Russia share a “philosophical distate” for doctrines like the “responsibility to protect” that justify “global policeman” roles.