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Tuesday, March 28, 2023

China’s foreign minister signals deeper ties with Russia

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Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has defended his country’s position on the war in Ukraine and signalled that China will deepen ties with Russia in the coming year.

Speaking by video to a conference in the Chinese capital, Beijing, he also blamed America for the deterioration in relations between the world’s two largest economies, saying that China has “firmly rejected the United States’ erroneous China policy”.

China has pushed back against Western pressure on trade, technology, human rights and its claims to a broad swathe of the western Pacific, accusing the US of bullying.

Its refusal to condemn the invasion of Ukraine and join others in imposing sanctions on Russia has further frayed ties and fuelled an emerging divide with much of Europe.

Mr Wang said China will “deepen strategic mutual trust and mutually beneficial co-operation” with Russia.

“With regard to the Ukraine crisis, we have consistently upheld the fundamental principles of objectivity and impartiality, without favouring one side or the other, or adding fuel to the fire, still less seeking selfish gains from the situation,” he said, according to an official text of his remarks.

Even as China has found common ground with Russia as both come under Western pressure, its economic future remains tied to American and European markets and technology.

Leader Xi Jinping is pushing Chinese industry to become more self-sufficient, but Mr Wang acknowledged experience has shown “that China and the United States cannot decouple or sever supply chains”.

He said China will strive to bring relations with the US back on course, saying they have plunged because “the United States has stubbornly continued to see China as its primary competitor and engage in blatant blockade, suppression and provocation against China”.

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