China's top diplomat, Wang Yi, is embarking on a significant four-day visit to Russia, which is expected to strengthen mutual political trust between the two nations and prepare the ground for a potential landmark visit by Russian President Vladimir Putin to Beijing in October, Reuters reported.
During this visit, Wang will engage in crucial discussions with Russian officials, including Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev, as part of their annual security talks. According to the Chinese foreign ministry, these discussions will be focused on various security matters.
Furthermore, Wang will hold talks with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, covering a wide range of issues, including the possibility of high-level contacts. This visit by Wang aims to lay the foundation for President Putin's anticipated trip to Beijing to attend the third Belt and Road Forum, an invitation extended by Chinese President Xi Jinping during his visit to Moscow earlier this year.
Vladimir Putin has previously attended China's first two Belt and Road Forums in 2017 and 2019. However, it's important to note that he has not ventured abroad since the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant against him, accusing him of unlawfully deporting hundreds of children from Ukraine. Despite Putin's expressed expectation to meet with President Xi soon, he has not explicitly confirmed his travel plans to China.
The ICC's arrest warrant, issued just prior to Xi's visit to Russia, obligates the court's 123 member states to arrest Putin and transfer him to the Hague for trial if he enters their territory. Notably, China is not a party to the Rome Statute that established the ICC in 2002.
This diplomatic visit will also facilitate in-depth discussions on various international issues, including the situation in Ukraine, as mentioned by Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova.
Wang's last visit to Russia took place in February, just before the one-year anniversary of Russia's invasion of Ukraine. This visit had raised concerns in the United States, with accusations that China and Russia shared a vision in which borders could be redrawn through the use of force.
Before his visit to Russia, Wang engaged in constructive discussions with White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan during his visit to Malta. These talks are part of a series of high-level meetings between U.S. and Chinese officials, potentially setting the stage for a meeting between President Xi and U.S. President Joe Biden later this year.
Earlier Daryo reported that Chinese Defense Minister Li Shangfu is embarking on a resolute six-day trip to Russia and Belarus, reaffirming China's support for nations marginalized due to the Ukraine conflict.