Lavrov hails Moscow-Beijing ties, accuses US of provocations

Russia’s top diplomat says the West is searching for ways to anger China on a host of issues, including Taiwan and Tibet.

Lavrov accused the West of failing to observe signed agreements with Russia [Russian Foreign Ministry Press Service via AP]

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has hailed joint military drills between Moscow and Beijing as a move that strengthens the pair’s new strategic partnership.

Addressing reporters in Moscow on Wednesday, Lavrov also accused the West of searching for ways to anger China on a host of issues, such as the status of Tibet and Taiwan.

He said China was too powerful for the United States to stand against on its own, so Washington was being forced to “mobilise” the West to support its anti-Beijing agenda.

As the war in Ukraine rages, China and Russia have put aside decades of mutual distrust and stepped up military exercises to align their foreign policies.

They signed a “no limits” partnership last February, days before Moscow sent its armed forces into Ukraine and their economic links have boomed as Russia’s connections with the West have shrivelled.

However, Beijing is treading carefully.

President Vladimir Putin has publicly acknowledged that his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, has “concerns” over Russia’s actions in Ukraine.

Lavrov warned that Russia’s showdown with the West over Ukraine was part of a global policy shift that will evolve over a long period.

“The process of forming a multipolar world order will be long; it will take an epoch,” he said. “And we are in the middle of that process now.”

He cited Western efforts to hamper the widening cooperation between Russia and China, maintaining they would not succeed.

Russia’s relations with the West “will never be the same”, he said, as he accused the West of failing to observe signed agreements with Moscow.

“Never again there will be a situation when you lie, sign documents and then refuse to fulfil them,” he said.

Last month, the Chinese and Russian navies held joint drills in the East China Sea.

According to China’s Eastern Theater Command of the People’s Liberation Army, the exercises were designed to demonstrate “the determination and capability of the two sides to jointly respond to maritime security threats”.

Meanwhile, Russia and China are also said to be “sharing a toolkit” of approaches and strategies to undermine NATO, according to Julianne Smith, US ambassador to NATO.

“Those two are increasingly sharing a toolkit that should concern the NATO alliance, Smith told the Financial Times in an article published in December.

“There’s just no question that the [People’s Republic of China] and Russia are both working to divide … the transatlantic partners. And we are now very aware, we all have a deeper appreciation of those efforts and are intent on addressing them,” Smith said in an interview.

NATO in June listed China among its strategic challenges for the first time, saying Beijing’s ambitions and “coercive policies” undermined the Western military bloc’s “interests, security and values”.

Lavrov compares West’s approach to Hitler’s ‘final solution’

Elsewhere in his speech on Wednesday, Lavrov said the US had assembled a coalition of European countries to solve “the Russian question” using Ukraine as a proxy, in the same way Adolf Hitler had sought a “final solution” to eradicate Europe’s Jews.

“Just as Hitler wanted a ‘final solution’ to the Jewish question, now, if you read Western politicians … they clearly say Russia must suffer a strategic defeat,” he said.

Al Jazeera’s Ali Hashem, reporting from Moscow, said Lavrov’s news conference was an attempt to contextualise the war into the “Russian-Western confrontation”.

Source: News Agencies