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China Seeks Enhanced Asia-Pacific Role, Celebrates Strong Ties with Russia

Published February 28, 2024
4 months ago

China has recently expressed a strong commitment to bolstering its partnership with Russia, while simultaneously advocating for a reinforced role in the Asia-Pacific region's security and stability. This comes amid a backdrop where the international community closely scrutinizes the evolving dynamics between the two powerful nations.

During a visit to Moscow, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Sun Weidong expressed that ties between China and Russia were at their best, under the "strategic guidance" of President Xi Jinping and President Putin. This assertion aligns with the ongoing narrative that Beijing and Moscow find common ground in opposition to Western influence and seek to challenge the existing international order.

Sun's visit underscores China's delicate balance in maintaining strong relations with Russia while attempting not to alienate Western nations. With the West imposing sanctions on Russia in response to its military actions in Ukraine, China has carefully navigated the situation, abstaining from direct criticism of Russia's activities. This stance has, however, resulted in pushback from the US and EU, leading to the blacklisting of some Chinese firms accused of aiding Russia in sanctions evasion.

Economic ties have also been a cornerstone of the Sino-Russian relationship, with trade and energy import agreements fortifying their partnership. China has leveraged Russia's need for economic connections amidst Western sanctions to secure beneficial energy deals and access to Russia's natural resources. Conversely, Russia views China's economic might as a lifeline in these trying times.

The geopolitical aspirations of China extend to the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), with Sun Woedong citing the organization's role as a "stabilizing anchor" in significant ongoing changes. China's push for a greater say in Asia-Pacific affairs through the SCO indicates its desire to shape regional security and development outcomes alongside Russia.

These developments resonate with the broader geopolitical shift in the Asia-Pacific, where power balances are continuously in flux. Sun also discussed global issues, including the Ukraine crisis and the situation in the Korean Peninsula, with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, details of which remain undisclosed.

In a move that seems conciliatory towards the West, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson revealed plans for its special representative for Eurasian affairs to visit several countries, including Russia, Poland, Ukraine, Germany, and France. The goal is to promote a political resolution to the Ukraine crisis, showcasing a multifaceted approach to international relations.

As China continues to fortify its relations with Russia while advocating for stronger regional roles, the world watches to see how this partnership evolves amidst the complexities of international politics and global power structures.

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