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As Biden visits Ukraine, China’s top diplomat heads to Russia

Hong Kong, Feb 20 (IANS) As US President Joe Biden touched down in Ukraine to meet with his counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky on Monday, Chinas top diplomat was travelling in the opposite direction, on his way to Russia, according to a media report.

Wang Yi – who was promoted as Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s top foreign policy advisor last month – is due to arrive in Moscow this week as part of his eight-day Europe tour, a trip that brings into focus China’s attempted diplomatic balancing act since Russian tanks rolled into Ukraine a year ago, CNN reported.

The optics of the two trips – taking place just days before the one-year anniversary of the brutal war on Friday – underscores the sharpening of geopolitical fault lines between the world’s two superpowers, CNN reported.

While relations between the US and China continue to plummet – most recently due to the fallout from a suspected Chinese spy balloon that entered US airspace – China and Russia are as close as ever since their leaders declared a ‘no limits friendship’ a year ago – partly driven by their shared animosity towards the United States.

And as the US and its allies reaffirm their support for Ukraine and step up military aid, Beijing’s deepening partnership with Moscow has raised alarms in Western capitals – despite China’s public charm offensive in Europe to present itself as a negotiator of peace, CNN reported.

At the Munich Security Conference on Saturday, Wang had addressed a room of European officials as “dear friends” and touted China’s commitment to peace, while apparently attempting to drive a wedge between Europe and the US.