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China: Ties with Russia will ‘grow from strength to strength’

China, which has refused to name Russia as the aggressor in the Ukraine conflict, has often criticized the US for bullying other countries with unilateral sanctions.

China needs to improve its relations with Russia as the world becomes more turbulent, Foreign Minister Qin Gang says.

Speaking at an annual parliamentary session in Beijing on Tuesday, Qin told reporters that the close interactions between both leaders – President Xi Jinping and President Vladimir Putin – formed the basis of China-Russia relations.

Qin defended the close friendship between China and Russia, a relationship closely watched by the West in light of the war in Ukraine. He said Beijing-Moscow ties are “an example for global foreign relations”.

“If China and Russia work together, the world will have a driving force. The more unstable the world becomes, the more necessary it is for China and Russia to steadily advance their relations,” said Qin.

There is “close contact” between the leaders of the two countries, he added, with “head of state” relations being the anchor of the relationship.

“The strategic partnership… will definitely grow from strength to strength,” said Qin.

‘Pay attention’

The Kremlin said on Tuesday that the United States is driving the conflict in Ukraine and welcomed China’s growing diplomacy.

“A country as big, gigantic, powerful and authoritative as China cannot help but have its own voice on the issues that are high on the global agenda,” Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

“We pay close attention to all the considerations we hear from our Beijing colleagues,” he added, referring to China’s plan for a peaceful settlement in Ukraine.

Earlier, Qin called “an invisible hand” leading the war in Ukraine, without identifying a nation. But Peskov was more direct in his remarks.

“This is the hand of the United States of America… Washington does not want this war to end, Washington wants and will do everything in its power to continue this war. This is the visible hand,” he said.

Qin did not give a definitive answer to whether Xi would visit Russia after the session of China’s parliament, which is still a week away.

When asked if it is possible for China and Russia to abandon the US dollar and euro for bilateral trade, Qin said countries should use any currency that is efficient, safe and credible.

“Currencies should not be the trump card for unilateral sanctions, let alone a disguise for bullying or coercion,” he said.

China, which has refused to name Russia as the aggressor in the Ukraine conflict, has often criticized the United States for harassing other countries with unilateral sanctions.