China's top diplomat visits Moscow ahead of anniversary of Russia's Ukraine invasion

China's top diplomat Wang Yi speaks during the 2023 Munich Security Conference (MSC) on February 18 in Munich, Germany.

Hong Kong (CNN)China's top diplomat Wang Yi arrived in Moscow on Tuesday, in the first visit to Russia by a Chinese official in that role since the Kremlin's full-scale invasion of Ukraine began nearly a year ago.

Wang, who was named Chinese leader Xi Jinping's top foreign policy adviser last month, is making the high-profile visit as the final stop in an eight-day international tour that included visits to France, Italy, and Hungary, as well as Germany for a security conference.
He will meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Wednesday, Russian state media TASS reported, citing the Russian foreign ministry. While neither country has specified whether Wang will hold talks with President Vladimir Putin, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Monday that "we do not exclude" such a meeting.
    Wang met with the head of Russia's Security Council, Nikolai Patrushev, on Tuesday, according to a readout from China's Foreign Ministry.
      The readout said the two officials agreed to oppose "the Cold War mentality, bloc confrontation and ideological opposition" -- a thinly veiled criticism of the US -- and to make more efforts to "improve global governance," in an apparent reference to Beijing and Moscow's ambitions to reshape the global order in their favor.
        Wang and Patrushev also "exchanged their opinions" on the issue of Ukraine, the statement added, without offering details.
        Wang's trip comes after US President Joe Biden made a surprise visit to Ukraine on Monday in a show of support for the embattled country, which Washington and its European allies have rallied together to back over the past year through both military and humanitarian aid, and economic sanctions against Russia.
          The diplomat arrived in Moscow just days after US officials went public with concerns about how China's continuing partnership with Russia could have an impact on the war in Ukraine -- and hours after Putin made a major speech on the conflict, in which he announced plans to suspend Russia's involvement in its last remaining nuclear arms treaty with the US.
          The Chinese leadership has claimed impartiality in the conflict but refused to condemn Russia's invasion, instead expanding trade ties and continuing joint military exercises, including this week.
          But during engagements in European cities in recent days, Wang built on China's framing of itself as a proponent of peace and negotiation, saying at the Munich Security Conference (MSC) on Saturday that Beijing would release its position on a "political settlement" of the crisis.
          Those remarks were met with suspicion from some Western leaders who are closely watching for any support China lends to its northern neighbor, especially that which crosses certain "red lines" articulated by Washington.
          On Tuesday, China's Foreign Minister Qin Gang reiterated Beijing's messaging on Ukraine at a security forum in the Chinese capital. China was "deeply concerned" the conflict would spiral "out of control," and would continue to urge peace talks and provide "Chinese wisdom" to bring about a political settlement, he said.
          "At the same time, we urge relevant countries to immediately stop adding fuel to the fire, stop shifting blame to China, and stop hyping up the discourse of Ukraine today, Taiwan tomorrow," he said, in an apparent reference to the US and its allies.

          US warns China could supply Russia with 'lethal support'

          US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the Biden administration had concerns that Beijing is considering stepping up its partnership with Moscow by supplying the Russian military with "lethal support" as Russia prepares for an expected new offensive.
          "We've been watching this very closely," Blinken told CBS' "Face the Nation" from the MSC in an interview that aired Sunday. "The concern that we have now is based on information we have that they're considering providing lethal support, and we've made very clear to them that that would cause a serious problem for us and in our relationship."
          Blinken also warned Wang "about the implications and consequences" if China increases its support for Russia's war effort, during a meeting between the two on the sidelines of the conference, according to a US readout.