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China: Xi Jinping meets with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov

Beijing [China]: Chinese leader Xi Jinping met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Beijing on Tuesday, Xinhua reported.

Details of the meeting were not immediately disclosed by state media.

Lavrov is on a two-day visit to the Chinese capital, which follows Russian President Vladimir Putin's suggestion last month of considering China for his maiden overseas trip after his election victory last month, CNN reported.

This encounter marks the first face-to-face discussion between Lavrov and Xi in six years, a significant event given that heads of state typically do not meet visiting ministers directly. Their last meeting in 2018 occurred just before Putin's inaugural visit to China following his re-election.

Since then, China and Russia have intensified their economic, trade, and diplomatic collaborations, particularly in the aftermath of Putin's war in Ukraine.

Despite Beijing claiming neutrality in the conflict, it has emerged as a crucial economic partner for Russia, providing vital support to its isolated economy. The two nations have also aligned diplomatically against perceived Western containment efforts

Putin, considering his first overseas trip of his new term, hinted at the possibility of visiting China in response to a Russian lawmaker's suggestion. However, the Kremlin has yet to confirm any travel plans.

Putin's last visit to Beijing occurred in October during the Belt and Road Forum, while Xi visited Moscow for a state visit in last March, according to CNN.

Earlier today, Lavrov also met with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi. Following their meeting, Wang highlighted the countries' ties as being elevated to "the highest level in history," and alluded to their shared views on the United States by saying they would "oppose a Cold War mentality," according to comments made during a joint news conference following their meeting, cited by Chinese state media.

Discussions between Lavrov and Wang touched upon the conflict in Ukraine, with both sides concurring that international meetings on the matter that disregard Moscow's interests are futile, according to reports from Russian state news agency TASS.

Wang told his counterpart that China supports holding an international peace conference "recognized by both Russia and Ukraine," with "equal participation by all parties and where all peace plans are discussed fairly," according to a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson.

These statements come amidst ongoing deliberations on resolving the Ukrainian conflict. Previous peace conferences, largely supported by Kyiv and excluding Moscow, have failed to garner significant traction. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's peace proposal, advocates for the complete withdrawal of Russian troops.

While China has engaged in dialogue with Switzerland regarding an upcoming peace conference, it has reiterated the necessity for such talks to be acknowledged by both Ukraine and Russia, CNN reported. 

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