Kremlin official urges deeper ties with China to resist West

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia’s security head on Tuesday held talks with the Chinese Communist Party’s foreign policy chief, calling for closer cooperation with Beijing to resist Western pressure.

Nikolai Patrushev, the secretary of Russia’s National Security Council, said during a meeting with Wang Yi, the party’s most senior foreign policy official who is visiting Moscow, that the West sought to deter Russia and China as part of its attempts to preserve global domination.

“The bloody events in Ukraine staged by the West is just one example of it,” said Patrushev, a longtime associate of Russian President Vladimir Putin. “All that is being done against Russia and China and to the detriment of developing nations.”

Russia has sought to cast what it calls its “special military operation” as an effort to protect Russian speakers and to derail Western efforts to turn Ukraine into an anti-Russian bulwark. Kyiv and its Western allies reject that argument as a bogus cover for an unprovoked act of aggression.

Wang said Tuesday that the relations between Moscow and Beijing are “solid as a rock” and will “stand the test of the volatile international situation.”

The Chinese official noted that Russia and China have “excellent opportunity to continue close strategic cooperation and contacts to protect our shared strategic interests.”

“Together with the Russian side, we are ready to strongly uphold our national interests and dignity and to expand mutually beneficial cooperation in all areas,” he said in remarks carried by Russian news agencies.

China, which has declared a “no limits” friendship with Russia, has pointedly refused to criticize Moscow’s actions, blaming the U.S. and NATO for provoking the Kremlin, and has blasted the punishing sanctions imposed on Russia. Russia, in turn, has strongly backed China amid tensions with the U.S. over Taiwan.

During Tuesday’s meeting with Wang, Patrushev emphasized that “amid a campaign by the West to deter both Russia and China, it is particularly important to further deepen the Russian-Chinese coordination and cooperation in the international arena.”

Patrushev said that the development of “strategic partnership” with China remains a top priority for Russia, and reaffirmed Moscow’s “invariable support for Beijing on the Taiwan, Xinjang, Tibet and Hong Kong issues, which the West has exploited to discredit China.”

The two nations have held a series of military drills that showcased increasingly close defense ties amid tensions with the United States.

Patrushev on Tuesday invited Wang to discuss international and regional issues, adding that “this will help greater consolidation of our approaches and our unity in addressing shared challenges.”

Wang’s visit to Moscow follows President Joe Biden’s unannounced visit to Ukraine on Monday, where he met with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and reaffirmed a strong U.S. support for Kyiv on the eve of the Russian military operation’s one-year anniversary.

Before heading to Russia, Wang held talks Saturday with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on the sidelines of an international security conference in Munich. Blinken noted that he reiterated a warning to China against providing assistance to Russia in Ukraine, including helping Moscow with evading sanctions the West has imposed on Moscow.

Wang is also set to hold talks Wednesday with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. The Kremlin said that a meeting with Putin is also possible.

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