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Russia and China to deepen security cooperation in Asia, Europe

Russia and China have agreed to discuss ways to deepen their security cooperation in Asia and Europe to counter attempts by the United States to impose its will on the region, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said.

“For a long time, there was a Euro-Atlantic security structure in the form of NATO … as well as the OSCE [Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe],” Lavrov said in Beijing on Tuesday after talks with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi.

But these were not “structures within which it is possible to conduct meaningful negotiations and agree on something based on a balance of interests”.

As Russia’s war in Ukraine grinds on, Lavrov said Moscow and Beijing had agreed to “start a dialogue with the involvement of our other like-minded people on this issue”.

The United States calls China its biggest rival and Russia its biggest threat, Al Jazeera’s Katrina Yu said, reporting from Beijing.

“These two countries oppose increasing US influence over Europe and the growing power of NATO, as well as what they have referred to as unilateral sanctions against both sides. So really, Russia and China here are natural partners.”

At a news conference after the meeting, Wang did not explicitly mention the US, NATO or the war in Ukraine, but said that China and Russia should “oppose hegemonism and power politics, oppose the monopoly of international affairs by a few countries”.

China’s top diplomat said the two nations must stand on the side of “fairness and justice”.

Wang “emphasised that China would continue to deepen its trading relationship, its economic relationship with Moscow at a time when Western allies are trying to isolate Putin, and isolate Moscow. So this is frustrating for the US and its allies,” Al Jazeera’s Katrin Yu reported.

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said on Monday that she had difficult conversations with China during her visit about its cooperation with Moscow and warned of “significant consequences” for any Chinese companies supporting Russia’s war in Ukraine.

‘Unlawful sanctions’

Lavrov additionally denounced the “unlawful sanctions” imposed by the West against Russia and other countries and warned that the sanctions policy “is starting to be actively applied towards (China) as well”.

Wang told Lavrov that China “will support Russia’s stable development under the leadership of Putin”, according to Russian state news agency RIA Novosti.

Since Russia invaded Ukraine in 2022 it has been drawn closer to China. During a summit last year, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and China’s President Xi Jinping declared that ties were “entering a new era”.

While China says it is a neutral party in the Ukraine conflict, it has been criticised for refusing to condemn Russia for its offensive.

Lavrov’s two-day official visit to China comes as the two nations mark the 75th anniversary of their diplomatic relations.

Chinese state-owned Global Times reported that his visit is also in preparation for Putin’s trip to Beijing, which is expected in May, in what could be the Russian leader’s first overseas trip since winning re-election.

Source: Al Jazeera