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BEIJING: The foreign ministers of China and Russia hailed the “practical cooperation” between the two global powers in a phone call on Monday, Beijing said.

China’s top diplomat Wang Yi told his counterpart Sergei Lavrov that Beijing and Moscow “should continue to maintain close strategic coordination, promote world multipolarisation and the democratisation of international relations”, according to a Chinese foreign ministry statement.

The newly reappointed foreign minister praised recent progress in “practical cooperation” between the two countries during a discussion that also touched on the ongoing fighting in Ukraine, Beijing said.

China to attend talks on Ukraine in Saudi Arabia that exclude Russia

Speaking on the crisis in Ukraine following Moscow’s invasion last year, Wang said that China would continue to “uphold an independent and fair stance”, encouraging involved parties to commence peace talks.

As for Beijing and Moscow, he added: “The most important present task for both sides is to continue to implement the important consensus reached by their two heads of state and push forward continued high-level development of the China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership in the new era.”

Wang, a seasoned diplomat and senior politician in China’s ruling Communist Party, was reappointed as foreign minister in late July following the prolonged and unexplained disappearance of his predecessor Qin Gang.

Beijing and Moscow have maintained an increasingly close bilateral relationship in recent years as both countries’ ties with the West have plummeted.

Russia’s foreign ministry said in its own statement on Monday that the ministers rejected “the confrontational policy of the Western bloc towards Russia and China”.

“The contact… once again confirmed the unity or broad harmony of Moscow and Beijing’s approaches to world affairs,” said the statement.

China has sought to position itself as a neutral party in the conflict while maintaining close ties with strategic ally Russia.

Since Russian tanks rolled over the border into Ukraine, Beijing has offered Putin diplomatic and financial support, but has refrained from overt military involvement or sending lethal arms.

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