Closed-door trial of Michael Kovrig finishes with a Beijing court saying it will set a date for the verdict.
Russia and China have called for a United Nations Security Council summit over what they term heightened “global political turbulence”, which has seen Western powers impose fresh sanctions on the pair over alleged human rights violations.
The two allies, whose relations with the West are under increasing strain, made the call in a joint statement on Tuesday following talks in Guilin between Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov and his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi.
“At a time of increasing global political turbulence, a summit of the permanent members of the UN Security Council is particularly necessary to establish direct dialogue about ways to resolve humankind’s common problems in the interests of maintaining global stability,” said the statement, published on the Russian foreign ministry’s website.
Moscow has long been unilaterally pushing for such a summit.
The joint statement came after the United States, European Union, United Kingdom and Canada imposed sanctions on a handful of Chinese officials on Monday for alleged human rights abuses against the country’s Uighur population in its northwestern Xinjiang province.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement that the united response “sends a strong signal to those who violate or abuse international human rights,” as he warned, of “further actions in coordination with likeminded partners”.
China responded by imposing sanctions on 10 European individuals and four institutions that it said had damaged China’s interests and “maliciously spread lies and disinformation”.
Russia too is braced for a new round of US sanctions over what Washington says was its meddling in the 2020 US presidential election, which Moscow denies.
Russia, China slam foreign interference
Russia and China’s joint statement also urged other countries to refrain from interfering in the pair’s domestic affairs.
“Interference in a sovereign nation’s internal affairs under the excuse of ‘advancing democracy’ is unacceptable,” it said.
Commenting specifically on Monday’s sanctions, Lavrov said Russia and China both regarded the measures as unacceptable.
Wang sharply criticised the moves, warning they would “not be embraced by the international community”.
“Countries should stand together to oppose all forms of unilateral sanctions,” he said.
The joint statement did not mention the US by name, but Lavrov was cited by the TASS news agency as telling reporters after talks with Yi that Moscow and Washington were both unhappy with Washington’s behaviour.
The US was relying on Cold War-era military and political alliances to try to destroy international legal architecture, he reportedly said.
Earlier, the pair also urged the US to rejoin the Iran nuclear agreement.
Russia and China have close ties with Tehran, while Biden’s new administration has approached rejoining the accord cautiously.
Lavrov also took a swipe at the EU, accusing Brussels of destroying Russia-EU ties and saying that Moscow only has relations with individual European nations now.
The fresh sanctions came after US and Chinese officials on Friday concluded what Washington called “tough and direct” talks in Alaska.
Meanwhile, Russia’s ambassador, having been recalled, is back in Moscow for talks after US President Joe Biden said he believed President Vladimir Putin was a “killer”.