China’s top diplomat, director of the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee Foreign Affairs Commission Office Wang Yi, was visiting Russia on Monday for security talks amid Russia’s war in Ukraine.
His visit comes on the heels of that of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, who met last week with Russian President Vladimir Putin, and the pair were suspected of having discussed exchanging North Korean weapons for Russian food aid and satellite technology.
China officially took a neutral stance in the war in February of 2022 ahead of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. However, China and Russia struck a “no limits” partnership while Putin was visiting China for the opening of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. Even so, Beijing has denied even indirectly supporting Russia’s war efforts.
Russian media said Wang’s trip would lay the ground for Putin to make a landmark visit to Beijing soon. Earlier this month, Putin said he expected to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping—who visited Moscow in March—though the Russian leader did not say when their next meeting would take place.
Wang is scheduled to spend four days in Russia for what China’s Foreign Ministry called “strategic security consultations.”
He’s expected to meet with his Russian counterpart, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, to discuss not just the war in Ukraine but also “the expansion of NATO forces and infrastructure in the Asia-Pacific region,” according to the Russian state media outlet TASS.