Lavrov in China for talks as Beijing, Moscow seek to cement ties against US firm policy push

K J M Varma
·3-min read

Beijing, Mar 22 (PTI) Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov arrived in China on Monday for talks with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi as the two countries stepped up efforts to cement their close ties to counter the Biden administration's plan to pursue a tough policy towards them on a host of issues including human rights violations.

Lavrov, 71, the longstanding top Russian diplomat, arrived in the Chinese city of Guilin in Guangxi province where he will hold talks with Wang on Monday and Tuesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told a media briefing here.

While announcing Lavrov’s visit, Hua denied China and Russia are ganging-up against the US and its allies.

'The development of relations between China and Russia, we don’t target any third party. We are always above board. We are not acting like other countries to gang-up against others, plotting or other ulterior motives,' she said.

'China and Russia have always stood together in close cooperation against hegemony and bullying in the world. We have become a pillar for the world's peace and stability,' Hua 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. Ahead of his arrival, Lavrov in interviews to various outlets of the Chinese official media said that the US and its partners were trying to dictate their own will on other countries and obstruct the establishment of the multipolar democratic world.

'Unfortunately, some of the Western countries, led by the United States, are trying to obstruct the establishment of the true multipolar democratic world, attempting to maintain at any cost their dominance in the global economy and international politics, and to obtrude upon everyone their will and demands,' Lavrov was quoted as saying by Russia’s state-run TASS news agency.

Lavrov said that it is unwise to use sanctions in a bid to punish Russia and China, referring to US sanctions on Chinese entities in Hong Kong and Washington’s plans to impose sanctions against Russia.

'It is wrong to punish anyone on the present-day international arena and it is simply unwise to try to use this logic in respect of Russia and China,' Lavrov said.

'The model of interaction between Russia and China is absolutely free from any ideological constraints. It is of an intrinsic nature, not subject to any opportunistic factors nor against any third country,' he stressed, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

Referring to Lavrov’s criticism of the US, Hua said, 'Lavrov really hit the mark. The more the unstable world is, it is necessary for China and Russia to work together”.

'For a long time, the West, including the US, has been using democracy and human rights as cover, wantonly interfering in other’s internal affairs and causing a lot of trouble over the world even ceding in conflicts and turmoil,' she said.

Lavrov’s visit comes in the immediate backdrop of the first high-level strategic dialogue between US-China at Anchorage, Alaska, which was marked by angry rhetoric by both sides.

The Biden administration signalled to follow the tough China policy pursued by his predecessor, Donald Trump, which marked a new low in Beijing-Washington ties.

The last week’s dialogue, the first after Biden took over as US President, was held between US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and senior Chinese diplomats Yang Jiechi and Wang.

Coinciding with the deterioration of China-US ties, Biden also signalled to pursue equally firm policy against Russia and its President Vladimir Putin by imposing sanctions over the poisoning of Russian Opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who is now in prison.

Biden, when asked during an interview whether he thought Putin is a killer, said, 'I do.' '(Putin) will pay a price,' the US president said. PTI KJV ZH AKJ ZH ZH