beijing – Beijing and Moscow outlined a vision of a new world order on Wednesday as Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov made his first visit to a key allysince his country launched its . The top Moscow diplomat landed in the eastern city of Huangshan early Wednesday for a series of meetings on the future of but Russia’s bloody assault on its neighbor was likely to weigh heavily on the proceedings.
Beijing refused to condemn the invasion and provided diplomatic cover for an increasingly isolated Russia.
US officials have accused China of signaling its “willingness” to provide military and economic aid to Russia, while President Joe Biden has compared the invasion of Ukraine to China’s crushing of protests on the Tiananmen Square in 1989.
But on Wednesday, Lavrov painted a picture of a new “world order”, saying the world was “going through a very serious stage in the history of international relations”.
“We, with you, and withwill evolve towards a multipolar, just and democratic world order,” Lavrov said in a video released by the Russian Foreign Ministry ahead of a meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.
The two ministers were shown on Chinese state television in face masks bumping elbows in front of their national flags.
According to a reading from the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Wang Yi said that “China-Russia relations have withstood the new test of international developments, maintained the good direction of progress, and exhibited tenacious development momentum. “.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told reporters earlier that Moscow and Beijing would continue their efforts to “advance global multipolarity and democratization of international relations.”
Wang added that “Sino-Russian cooperation has no limits”, echoing a line used by President Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping to characterize the relationship.
“Our struggle for peace has no limits, our upholding of security has no limits, our opposition to hegemony has no limits,” Wang said.
Lavrov will take part in a series of meetings hosted by China to discuss ways to help Afghanistan, which diplomats from the United States and neighbors of the Taliban-ruled country are also expected to attend.
China shares only part of the border with Afghanistan, but Beijing has long feared its neighbor could become a staging post for Uyghur Muslim separatists in Xinjiang.
The meetings follow a visit by Wang last week to Kabul, his first trip to Afghanistan since the Taliban took power.
China and RussiaPutin having notably attended the opening ceremony of the last month just days before the invasion of Ukraine. The strongman leader and China’s Xi signed energy deals worth billions of dollars during Putin’s trip.
Putin met Xi privately ahead of the opening ceremony in Beijing and the leaders later issued a joint statement showing a united front in the face of Western criticism. The statement, posted on the Kremlin’s website, was intended to present Russia and China not as challengers to democracy and freedom on the world stage, but as purveyors of them.
Without explicitly naming any adversary, the message was already clear: the world is changing, and China and Russia will not be held back.
“Some forces representing a minority on the world stage continue to advocate unilateral approaches to solving international problems and to resort to power politics, practice interference in the internal affairs of other States, undermining their rights and interests legitimate, causing contradictions, disagreements and clashes,” the February statement said.
“Democracy”, they said, “is not built on templates. Depending on the socio-political structure, history, traditions and cultural characteristics of a particular state, its people have the right to choose the forms and methods of implementing democracy that correspond to the specificities of this State The right to judge whether a State is democratic belongs only to its people.
The message, at first glance, may be easy for the democratic West to dismiss: the Russian and Chinese people do not have “the right to choose the forms and methods of implementing democracy” as they wish, because neither of the two countriesand denounce the existing “forms and methods” of governance for .
China and Russia made a point of saying in their joint statement earlier this year that they reaffirmed “their firm support for each other in safeguarding their core interests, state sovereignty and territorial integrity, and oppose the interference of external forces in their internal affairs”. “