China's top diplomat says Russia ties 'rock solid'

Russia's Security Council Secretary Patrushev attends a meeting of Defence Ministry Board in Moscow

MOSCOW (Reuters) -China's top diplomat told one of President Vladimir Putin's closest allies on Tuesday that Beijing's relationship with Moscow was "rock solid" and would withstand any test in a changing international situation.

China's "no limits" partnership with Russia has come under scrutiny in the West after the United States said it was concerned that Beijing might be considering supplying weapons to Russia a year since the invasion of Ukraine.

At a meeting in Moscow, Wang Yi told Nikolai Patrushev, secretary of Russia's powerful Security Council, that he looked forward to discussions about security.

"Chinese-Russian relations are mature in character: they are rock solid and will withstand any test in a changing international situation," Wang told "Comrade" Patrushev through a Russian interpreter in remarks aired on state television.

Wang said Russia and China should work out new joint steps to ensure the security of both countries, without elaborating.

Patrushev, who is close to Putin, told "Comrade" Wang that Beijing was a top priority for Russian foreign policy and that the two countries must stick together against the West.

"In the context of a campaign that is being waged by the collective West to contain both Russia and China, the further deepening of Russian-Chinese cooperation and interaction in the international arena is of particular importance," RIA cited Patrushev.


Chinese President Xi Jinping is preparing to visit Moscow for a summit with Putin in the coming months, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday, citing people familiar with the plan.

Preparations for the trip are at an early stage and the timing has not been finalised, the WSJ said, adding that Xi could visit in April or early May, when Russia celebrates its World War Two victory over Germany.

Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine has triggered one of the deadliest European conflicts since World War Two and the biggest confrontation between Moscow and the West since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.

The war began just weeks after Putin and Xi declared a "no limits" partnership.

Xi has stood by Putin, resisting Western pressure to isolate Russia. Chinese-Russian trade has soared since the invasion of Ukraine, and Russia has sold Asian powers including China greater volumes of oil.

Putin and Xi share a broad world view which sees the West as decadent and in decline just as China challenges U.S. supremacy in everything from technology to espionage and military power.

The United States casts China and Russia as the two biggest nation-state threats to its security. China is viewed by Washington as the gravest long-term "strategic competitor" and Russia as an "acute threat".

"I want to confirm our continued support for Beijing over the issues of Taiwan, Xinjiang, Tibet and Hong Kong," Patrushev said.

Wang was due to meet Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Wednesday as part of the visit to Moscow. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said he does not rule out a meeting between Wang and Putin, saying "there is lots to talk about".

(Reporting by Jake Cordell and Guy FaulconbridgeEditing by Gareth Jones)