Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Wednesday that the world is entering a historic phase in international relations, opening up an opportunity for Russia and China to lead a new “world order”.
“We will, together with you and with our supporters, move towards a multipolar, just and democratic world order,” Lavrov said at the start of a meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Beijing, according to the report. AFP.
It was Lavrov’s first official visit to China since Russian President Vladimir Putin waged war on neighboring Ukraine in late February.
Wang echoed Lavrov’s remarks, saying China is ready to work with Moscow to strengthen their relationship.
“China-Russia relations have withstood the new test of the changing international landscape, remained on the right track and exhibited resilient development momentum,” Wang said, according to a statement released by China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Foreign Affairs on the meeting. “The two sides are more determined to develop bilateral relations and more confident to advance cooperation in various fields.”
Jeremy Fleming, the head of Britain’s intelligence agency GCHQ, issued a stern warning to China that a partnership with Russia – a country notorious for ignoring international rules – would not support its mission to rule the world.
“Russia understands that in the long term, China will grow stronger militarily and economically,” Fleming said during a speech in Australia. according to the BBC. “Some of their interests are in conflict; Russia could be squeezed out of the equation.
While the meeting was supposed to focus on Afghanistan, China’s foreign ministry said Lavrov and Wang also discussed ongoing tensions in Ukraine.
“We help Russia and Ukraine overcome difficulties to continue the peace talks, support the positive results achieved so far in the negotiations, support the de-escalation of tensions on the ground and support the efforts made by Russia and other parties to prevent a large scale humanitarian crisis,” Wang said.
China has so far refused to publicly condemn Russia for the war. Earlier this month, the White House warned China – a major competitor of the United States – that there would be consequences if it chose to help Russia evade Western sanctions.
Susan Shirk, president of the 21st Century China Center at the University of California, San Diego, and a former State Department official, told the New York Times last month that the close ties between China and Moscow were worrisome for United States.
“It’s certainly concerning, and it’s not a positive development from a US national security or US national interests perspective,” Shirk said. “They kind of have a common point of view on the United States right now, and there’s this affinity between the leaders.”
Chinese President Xi Jinping has previously called Putin his “best friend”. The pair also released a joint statement ahead of the opening ceremony of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, saying “the friendship between the two states knows no bounds” and saying “there is no there are no ‘prohibited’ areas of cooperation.”
Fleming said Putin relied on China for military support and technology, and as a market for his lucrative oil and gas business, according to the BBC.
On Thursday, Lavrov will travel to India, which continued to buy Russian oil – even in greater quantities during the war, taking advantage of discounts offered by Russia.
India has purchased nearly 13 million barrels of Russian oil since the start of the war, up from nearly 16 million barrels in 2021, according to Reuters.