China, Russia 'more determined' to boost ties, Beijing says

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Flags of China and Russia are displayed in this illustration picture taken March 24, 2022. REUTERS/Florence Lo/Illustration

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BEIJING, March 30 (Reuters) - Moscow and Beijing are "more determined" to develop bilateral ties and boost cooperation, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Wednesday following a meeting in eastern China with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, amid the Ukraine crisis.

The two also condemned what they called illegal and counter- productive Western sanctions imposed on Moscow over its actions in Ukraine, the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement.

Wang and Lavrov spoke in the eastern Chinese province of Anhui, where China is hosting two days of multilateral meetings on Afghanistan. read more

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"Both sides are more determined to develop bilateral ties, and are more confident in promoting cooperation in various fields," Wang said.

"China is willing to work with Russia to take China-Russian ties to a higher level in a new era under the guidance of the consensus reached by the heads of state," he said.

'INTERNATIONAL TURBULENCE'

The meeting comes a little over a month after Russia launched an invasion of Ukraine, in what it calls a "special operation", triggering unprecedented Western economic sanctions.

Russia is looking to China for support and partnerships as it becomes ever more isolated from global financial systems and supply chains.

China has refused to condemn Russia's actions in Ukraine or to call it an invasion. It reiterated support on Wednesday for peace talks between Russia and Ukraine.

Russia's foreign ministry said Lavrov had informed Wang about the progress of military operations in Ukraine and the state of Moscow's negotiations with Kyiv.

"The sides noted the counterproductive nature of the illegal unilateral sanctions imposed on Russia by the United States and its satellites," the ministry said in a statement.

The two ministers agreed that Russia and China would continue to strengthen their strategic partnership and to speak on global affairs "with a united voice", it added.

China's foreign ministry quoted Wang as saying that bilateral relations had "withstood the test of international turbulence".

Lavrov said on Monday that Russia's relations with China were at their strongest level ever.

On the eve of last month's Winter Olympics in Beijing, China and Russia declared a "no-limits" strategic partnership.

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Reporting by Reuters; editing by Robert Birsel and Gareth Jones

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