China’s new top diplomat to visit Russia as tensions with the US mount | CNN

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China’s prime diplomat will go to Russia this month, based on its Overseas Ministry, within the first go to to the nation from a Chinese language official in that function since Moscow’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.

Wang Yi, who was named Chinese language chief Xi Jinping’s prime overseas coverage adviser final month, will go to Russia throughout an eight-day worldwide tour beginning Tuesday that will even embody visits to France, Italy, Hungary and a talking engagement on the Munich Safety Convention this coming weekend, which US Secretary of State Antony Blinken may attend.

The overseas itinerary is Wang’s first after leaving his put up as Overseas Minister and taking on his new function, and it may present a check of the diplomat’s skill in balancing Beijing’s shut ties with Moscow, whereas additionally trying to spice up China’s picture and relations in Europe – and by extension america.

Wang’s attendance on the Munich Safety Convention, which Blinken is predicted to attend, may provide an opportunity for the 2 to satisfy in individual for the primary time since US-China tensions once more flared after a suspected Chinese language surveillance balloon entered American airspace late final month.

The fallout from the balloon has been swift, with Washington accusing China of overseeing an international surveillance program – and Beijing denying these claims and in flip accusing the US of “illegally” flying high-altitude balloons into its airspace greater than 10 occasions because the begin of final 12 months. China maintains the balloon, which US forces recognized after which downed earlier this month, is a civilian analysis plane by chance blown off target.

The incident additionally had an instantaneous impression on what had been seen as a chance for the US and China to stabilize relations, as Blinken postponed an anticipated early February go to to Beijing after US officers introduced they had been monitoring the gadget.

State Division spokesperson Ned Value on Monday declined to verify that Blinken would attend the Munich convention and mentioned there was no assembly with a Chinese language official scheduled. He famous, nevertheless, that the US was “at all times assessing choices for diplomacy,” together with assembly in third international locations.

Chinese language Overseas Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin didn’t point out any potential assembly with Blinken when asserting Wang Yi’s journey plans throughout a press briefing on Monday.

Wang’s itinerary would deliver a chance for China to work for “new progress in bilateral relations” with France, Italy and Hungary, in addition to “promote China-EU strategic mutual belief,” the spokesperson mentioned.

China’s relationship with Europe has come beneath important stress within the wake of the Ukraine warfare. Beijing has refused to sentence the invasion outright or assist quite a few measures in opposition to it within the United Nations. China has additionally continued to accomplice with the Russian army throughout massive scale workouts, whereas boosting its commerce and gasoline purchases from Moscow.

In accordance with China’s Overseas Ministry spokesman, Wang’s go to to Moscow will present a chance for China and Russia to proceed to develop their strategic partnership and “trade views” on “worldwide and regional hotspot problems with shared curiosity” – a catch-all phrase usually used to allude to matters together with the warfare in Ukraine.

The Overseas Ministry didn’t specify whether or not Wang would meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“China is able to take this go to as a chance and work with Russia to advertise regular development of bilateral relations within the route recognized by the 2 heads of state, defend the authentic rights and pursuits of either side, and play an lively function for world peace,” spokesman Wang Wenbin mentioned.

Wang’s go to may foreshadow a state go to by Chinese language chief Xi Jinping to Moscow later this 12 months. Putin prolonged an invite to Xi throughout a customary end-of-year name between the 2 leaders, however China’s Overseas Ministry has but to verify any plans.

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