Beijing, Mar 23 (PTI) China and Russia proposed to establish a regional security dialogue platform to forge consensus on resolving the security concerns of countries in the region, as their Foreign Ministers wrapped up two-day talks to formulate their strategies to face the first joint US, EU broadside against them over human rights and host of other issues.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov met at Guilin in south China’s Guangxi province and reached strategic consensus, state-run Xinhua news agency reported on Tuesday.
The two sides briefed each other on the latest developments of their respective relations with the United States as the Biden administration has stepped up pressure along with European Union for the first time, prompting the two countries to firm up their close ties to counter Washington and Brussels.
Previously, the Donald Trump administration has handled China and Russia alone leaving the EU allies but President Joe Biden roped in western allies by changing the Trump-era act-alone policy.
During their talks, Wang and Lavrov also proposed the establishment of a regional security dialogue platform to converge a new consensus on resolving the security concerns of countries in the region, Xinhua quoted a press release issued at the end of their talks on Monday.
While there is no elaboration on the contours of the regional security dialogue platform, the two ministers said the international community believes that the US should reflect on the damage it has done to global peace and development in recent years, halt unilateral bullying and stop forming small circles to seek bloc confrontation, the press release said.
China has criticised the recent Quad summit hosted by US President Joe Biden and attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga.
The two ministers agreed that all countries should follow the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, uphold true multilateralism, make international relations more democratic, and accept and promote peaceful coexistence and common development of countries with different social systems and development paths.
Ahead of the talks, Lavrov had called for the two countries to work together and move away from the US dollar for trade as a way to reduce the risks of sanctions.
Russian state-run news agency TASS quoted Lavrov as saying in his joint press conference with Wang that the talks were business-like and specific.
“We discussed in detail ways of further promoting practical cooperation against the backdrop of the current epidemiological restrictions and paid special attention to preparations for top-level and high-level Russian-Chinese contacts,” Lavrov said.
'We will continue to strengthen our relations of comprehensive partnership and strategic interaction,' he said.
“Western powers should know that the days when they can arbitrarily interfere in China’s internal affairs by making up stories and lies are long gone,” Wang said during the talks, according to a Chinese foreign ministry statement.
The meeting took place after the EU on Monday announced sanctions on four Chinese officials and an entity over human rights violations in Xinjiang, which was followed by a similar announcement from the US, Canada and Britain.
In a joint press briefing after the talks on Tuesday, Wang said unilateral sanctions were not based on international law.
“We noted the destructive nature of the United States intentions to undermine the UN-centred international legal architecture, relying on military-political alliances of the Cold War era and creating new closed alliances in the same vein,” Lavrov said, Hong Kong based South China Morning Post reported.
The two sides also issued a joint statement after the meeting, saying they opposed the politicisation and use of human rights issues to meddle in other countries’ domestic affairs and that there were double standards at play, the Post report said.
Interfering in the affairs of sovereign nations under the pretext of “promoting democracy” was unacceptable, it said.
Feng Shaolei, director of the Centre for Russian Studies at East China Normal University in Shanghai, said the united front against sanctions was an inevitable response to US pressure.
“Given the changes in US policy towards the two countries, it would be unrealistic for China and Russia to do anything other than unite to resist this pressure,” Feng told the Post.
He added that it was unlikely Beijing and Moscow wanted to provoke a bigger confrontation by strengthening cooperation and working together against the sanctions and instead they were likely trying to “test the bottom line”.
In Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said the US and EU should not underestimate China.
“We hope they will understand that China today is not the same as Iraq, Libya or Syria, still less what it was 120 years ago. The days when foreign powers could force China to open its doors with guns were long gone; also gone was the days when several so-called scholars and state media could unscrupulously malign China in collusion without being punished,” she said. PTI KJV RS AKJ RS