Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Wednesday said Moscow and Beijing are leading the way towards a fairer world order, as he makes his first visit to the key ally since Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine last month.
Lavrov landed in the eastern city of Huangshan early on Wednesday.
In a video released by the Russian foreign ministry ahead of a meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Lavrov said the world was “living through a very serious stage in the history of international relations”.
At the end of this reshaping of global relations “we, together with you, and with our sympathisers will move towards a multipolar, just, democratic world order”, Lavrov said.
The two foreign ministers were shown on Chinese state TV in face masks bumping elbows in front of their national flags ahead of the meeting.
Lavrov will attend a series of meetings hosted by China to discuss ways to help Afghanistan.
Diplomats from the United States and the Taliban-led country’s neighbours are also expected to attend.
But Russia’s bloody assault on Ukraine is likely to loom large over proceedings.
Unlike many Western nations, Beijing has refused to condemn the invasion and has provided a level of diplomatic cover for an increasingly isolated Russia.
US officials have accused China of signalling “willingness” to provide military and economic aid to Russia, while US President Joe Biden has compared Russia’s invasion of Ukraine to China’s crushing of protests in Tiananmen Square in 1989.
China and Russia have become closer in recent years, with President Vladimir Putin notably attending the opening ceremony of the Beijing Winter Olympics last month, days before the invasion of Ukraine.
The strongman leader and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping declared the relationship between their two countries knew “no limits” while signing energy deals worth billions of dollars.