Chinese foreign minister visits Russia for ‘security’ talks day after Kim Jong-un leaves country

Chinese foreign minister will be in Russia until Thursday for security talks  (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Chinese foreign minister will be in Russia until Thursday for security talks (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

China’s foreign minister will be in Russia this week for security talks, arriving in Moscow just a day after North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, wrapped up his own visit to the country.

Wang Yi’s visit comes as an increasingly isolated Russia seeks support from its international allies for its war against Ukraine.

Running from Monday to Thursday, the visit will involve a “strategic security consultation” between China and Russia, the Chinese foreign ministry said.

It comes after Mr Kim spent six days in Russia, touring a variety of military and technology sites including a state-of-the-art cosmodrome, where he met with Vladimir Putin. Their talks sparked global concerns that North Korea will supply weapons to Russia to use in Ukraine.

Mr Wang, the ruling Chinese Communist Party’s top foreign policy official, arrives in Russia just two days after talks in Malta with US national security adviser Jake Sullivan.

Washington and Beijing described those talks as candid, substantive and constructive.

Both nations are looking to stabilise their rocky relationship, having seen bilateral tensions soar due to their conflicting views on multiple issues in Europe and East Asia.

China and the US disagree on their stance over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and the former has shifted closer to Russia. Beijing maintains the West has to consider Russia’s security concerns about Nato’s expansion in Europe.

China has also accused the US of prolonging fighting in Ukraine as it has aided the nation with arms and weaponry which the Joe Biden administration has repeatedly said are necessary in the face of Russian aggression.

Russia may be looking to brief Mr Wang on the details of Mr Putin and Mr Kim’s discussions, with experts saying Moscow would want China’s support before going ahead with any major shift in the Russia-North Korea relationship.

Also on the agenda could be plans for Vladimir Putin to visit Xi Jinping in Beijing. Mr Putin hasn’t left Russia since the International Criminal Court put out a warrant for his arrest – China is not a signatory to the court – but has previously said he plans to pay Mr Xi a visit, without specifying a date.

Mr Kim left Russia on Sunday after a grand farewell ceremony at the train station in Artyom, about 125 miles from the North Korean border. During his visit, Mr Kim secured an offer of Russian support for North Korea’s floundering and UN-sanctioned satellite launch programme.

In return, experts suggest, Russia may be eyeing up a North Korean stockpile of tens of millions of ageing artillery shells and rockets based on Soviet designs that could significantly aid Russian forces in Ukraine.

Mr Kim said North Korea would offer its “full and unconditional support” for Russia’s fight to defend its security interests, an indirect reference to the continuing war in Ukraine, despite the West’s warnings against doing so.