Wang Yi, China's senior diplomat, is in Russia for security talks as Moscow seeks to maintain support for its war in Ukraine.
Beijing, a close ally of Moscow, denies allegations that it supported Russia indirectly during the conflict. His visit follows Vladimir Putin's meeting with Kim Jong Un of North Korea, which was believed to result in an arms agreement.
Russian sources reported that Mr. Wang's voyage would also pave the way for Mr. Putin's upcoming historic visit to Beijing.
Mr. Putin stated earlier this month that he expected to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping, but did not specify when.
Since the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for him in March for war crimes in Ukraine, he has not traveled abroad.
Mr. Putin's last international excursion occurred in December 2022, when he visited Belarus and Kyrgyzstan.
Mr. Wang is in Russia for four days of strategic security consultations, according to the Chinese foreign ministry.
In addition, they will discuss the expansion of NATO forces and infrastructure in the Asia-Pacific region and strengthen their coordination in international organizations such as the United Nations, according to the statement.
Mr. Wang's visit follows Mr. Putin's highly controversial reception of Mr. Kim, which the United States claimed was to discuss the sale of North Korean arms to Russia.
It is believed that Moscow faces a paucity of weapons and ammunition.
Russia and North Korea reportedly discussed military cooperation and assistance for Pyongyang's satellite program. China's foreign ministry declined to comment on Mr. Kim's trip last week, stating that it was "something between their two countries."
Given Beijing's close connections with the other two countries, some analysts believe that any mutual support between North Korea and Russia occurs with China's knowledge or even tacit approval.
These ties transcend socialist ideology and a shared mistrust of the United States and the West.
Beijing has been Pyongyang's economic lifeline through trade for decades, and in the past year it has also begun to be Moscow's through increased purchases of Russian oil and gas.
He suggested that China may use North Korea as a proxy for Russia in the Ukraine war. Mr. Wang visited Russia after meeting with US national security adviser Jake Sullivan in Malta the day before.
In addition to the US-China relationship, the two leaders discussed regional security and the Ukraine issue, according to US and Chinese statements.
Mr. Korolev opined that it is improbable that China would exert pressure on North Korea to end all cooperation, despite the possibility that the U.S. is in talks with China to that end. "If China wanted to play ball the American way, they had more than a year" to end the conflict, he said, but they did not.
Since the beginning of the conflict, the United States has accused China of providing Russia with economic support and vital technologies.
It noted China's increased purchases of Russian energy exports, wider use of its currency in transactions with Russia, and "likely" delivery of dual-use technologies like drones for Ukraine.
China has consistently denied these allegations and insisted that it maintains a neutral stance on the conflict.
During Mr. Wang's last visit to Moscow and meeting with Mr. Putin earlier this year, during a whirlwind of diplomacy, China unveiled its own Ukraine peace plan.