China and Russia eye stronger intelligence and law enforcement ties as top security officials meet

Beijing and Moscow are expected to strengthen communications in intelligence and law enforcement as the two countries deepen strategic ties in the face of suspicion from the West.

During a meeting on Tuesday, China’s top security official Chen Wenqing, who heads the Communist Party’s Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission, told Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev that Beijing supports Moscow in its efforts to ensure national security.

Chen said China condemns last month’s attack on a concert hall near Moscow and “resolutely opposes all manifestations of terrorism”, according to Russian news agency Tass. At least 137 people were killed in the attack – the worst Russia has seen in decades.

The Russian Security Council said in a statement that the two discussed “further strengthening cooperation between the law enforcement agencies and special services of the two countries”.

“Opinions were exchanged on some issues on the international agenda. The parties confirmed their focus on enhancing coordination in the international arena,” it said.

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Chen, who also holds a seat on the Communist Party’s 24-member Politburo, began a nine-day trip to Russia on Saturday. The Chinese foreign ministry said he was invited to pay an official visit to the country and to attend the 12th International Meeting of High Representatives for Security Issues in St Petersburg, which runs from Tuesday to Thursday.

Earlier this month, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov visited Beijing, where the top diplomat met Chinese President Xi Jinping. The trip was seen as part of efforts to lay the groundwork for an anticipated China visit by Russian President Vladimir Putin next month.

Putin, who has been isolated from the West since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022, won a landslide re-election in March, and his inauguration is expected to take place on May 7.

Amid tensions with the West, Beijing and Moscow have significantly stepped up strategic cooperation, with leaders and senior officials of the two countries meeting regularly. Bilateral trade jumped by 26.3 per cent to a record US$240.1 billion last year, while Russia has overtaken Saudi Arabia as the top oil supplier to China.

The two sides have sought to present a united front at the United Nations, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and the Brics bloc, an informal group of emerging economies that now includes new members Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran and the United Arab Emirates.

China rejects restraints on Russia trade as top US envoy travels to Beijing

The strong ties between Beijing and Moscow have drawn scrutiny from Washington.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who landed in Shanghai on Wednesday for a three-day visit to China, is expected to press Chinese officials on a wide range of issues, including Beijing’s continued supply of key technologies and products that US officials say enable Moscow to replenish its military industries.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday that Washington was drafting sanctions that threatened to cut some Chinese banks out of the global financial system in an effort that could give Blinken the leverage to persuade Beijing to stop its commercial support for Russia’s military production.

The Chinese foreign ministry rejected the criticism and said export restrictions are in place for dual-use products, which could have military applications.

On Wednesday, Reuters quoted an anonymous source as saying that there are currently no immediate plans by Washington to impose sanctions on Chinese banks.



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