Russia and China reaffirmed seeing eye-to-eye on key international problems, ahead of a visit by China’s new leader Xi Jinping to Moscow next month.

Preparations for Mr. Xi’s visit were “in the focus” of talks with Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, said Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

The Chinese leader is expected to visit Moscow on his way to the BRICS summit of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa in Durban on March 26-27.

“Russia and China share the same positions… on the situation in the Middle East and North Africa, including the Syrian crisis, on Afghanistan, the Iranian nuclear programme and other crises,” Mr. Lavrov said at a joint news conference with his Chinese counterpart.

Apart from having talks with Mr. Lavrov, Mr. Yang was also received by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The Russian and Chinese Foreign Ministers condemned North Korea’s recent nuclear test, but said they would oppose any foreign military intervention.

“It is vitally important not to allow the current situation to be used for unleashing an arms race and for using it as a pretext for mounting outside military interference and scuttling the chances for the resumption of six-party talks,” Mr. Lavrov said.

The Chinese Foreign Minister, on his part, said that the U.N. Security Council’s response to North Korea’s test “should be directed towards peace on the Korean peninsula”.

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