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China’s Wang meets Lavrov ahead of G20 talks in Bali

#Chinas #Wang #meets #Lavrov #ahead #G20 #talks #Bali

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi met his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Bali on Thursday to discuss Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine ahead of a war-torn G20 ministerial meeting.

The pair were pictured at a bilateral meeting on the Indonesian holiday island as the world’s leading economies gathered to discuss the most pressing global issues on Friday, with the Ukraine war high on the agenda.

Despite criticism, Beijing has maintained friendly relations with Russia as Western nations have sought to isolate President Vladimir Putin’s government from the global financial and diplomatic order over the military assault on its neighbor.

Lavrov briefed Wang “on the conduct of the main tasks of the special military operation” in Ukraine and reiterated Moscow’s rhetoric that their goal was to “denazify” the country, according to a statement by the Russian Foreign Ministry.

“Both parties underlined the unacceptability of unilateral sanctions imposed bypassing the UN.”

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in Bali late Thursday and will hold bilateral talks with Wang on Saturday.

But he will avoid a direct meeting with his Russian counterpart even as they face their first showdown since war broke out in February.

Lavrov last saw Blink in January in Geneva, where the top US diplomat warned Russia of massive consequences if it goes ahead and invades Ukraine, which it did on February 24.

Washington has argued that Russia should no longer be a member of the international forum, a position shared by some Western allies.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said Lavrov and Wang “emphasized the need to maintain and develop the G20” at their meeting.

– Truss goes early –

Blinken will use the meeting – which is a prelude to a summit of leaders in November – to persuade allies like India who disagreed with its position on Ukraine to back away from Moscow.

But his hopes for a Western united front against Russian aggression were hit hard after British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss pulled out of the meeting at the last minute, according to a diplomat.

She will not attend talks with her counterparts on Friday, the diplomat told AFP, without specifying when she would leave Bali.

Truss cut short her trip after Prime Minister Boris Johnson resigned as leader of his Conservative party on Thursday. British media reported that she was flying home early to rally support for a leadership bid.

Beijing has refused to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and has been accused of providing diplomatic protection to the Kremlin by blasting Western sanctions and arms sales to Kyiv.

Blinken is expected to reiterate his warnings to Beijing about its support for Russia during talks with Wang on Saturday.

China has an independent foreign policy towards Russia and both reject interference from so-called “third parties”.

A meeting between Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping in February ended with the couple declaring a “new era” in international relations with “no borders” for their relationship.

Xi assured Putin of China’s support for Russia’s “sovereignty and security” in a phone call last month.

The United States quickly intervened, condemning China for “investing in close ties with Russia” despite claiming to be neutral.

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