Xi Meets With Russia’s Foreign Minister, Reaffirming Ties

China’s top leader, Xi Jinping, and Russia’s foreign minister, Sergey V. Lavrov, met in Beijing on Tuesday, in a session seen as laying the groundwork for an expected visit to China by President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia and pushing back against mounting pressure from the United States and its allies.

Mr. Lavrov’s visit came just days after Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen warned of “significant consequences” if Chinese companies provided material support for Russia’s war in Ukraine. It also took place as President Biden was set to host the leaders of Japan and the Philippines on Wednesday to boost economic and security ties to counter China’s growing assertiveness in Asia.

Earlier in the day, Mr. Lavrov met with his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, and said the two sides had talked about deepening security ties to resist the West’s “anti-Chinese” and “anti-Russian orientation.” In a sign of the Kremlin’s continued deference to China, Mr. Lavrov reaffirmed Russia’s rejection of any “outside interference” over Beijing’s claims to the de facto independent island of Taiwan.

“There is no place for dictatorships, hegemony, neocolonial and colonial practices, which are now being widely used by the United States and the rest of the ‘collective West,’” Mr. Lavrov said.

Mr. Wang’s remarks were more measured — a reflection of China’s difficult balancing act in supporting Russia while also trying to avoid alienating important trading partners in Western Europe.

China’s top diplomat did not mention the United States by name, a common practice by Chinese officials, and instead called for Russia and China to “oppose all hegemonic and bullying behaviors” and “oppose the Cold War mentality.”

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