Sergey Lavrov: “We exchanged views on the prospect of forming a new security structure in Eurasia against the background of the complete stagnation and self-destruction of Euro-Atlantic mechanisms”

21:54 09.04.2024 •

Photo: Russian MFA

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks and answers to media questions during a joint news conference with PRC Foreign Minister Wang Yi following talks, Beijing, April 9, 2024:

Ladies and gentlemen,

First of all, I would like to express one more time my gratitude to my colleague and friend, PRC Foreign Minister Wang Yi, for his invitation and the hospitable reception given to our delegation.

Yesterday and today, we held detailed and specific talks on a broad range of issues of interest to both sides. As Minister Wang Yi has just noted, we focused on the schedule of top-level contacts, because the leaders’ diplomacy is, without any exaggeration, the central element of the Russian-Chinese comprehensive partnership and strategic interaction. It is thanks to the leaders’ diplomacy in the first place that our bilateral relations have reached an unprecedentedly high level and continue to develop dynamically amid a very challenging situation in the world.

As I said, the focus was on the schedule of top-level contacts and the upcoming meetings between our leaders on the sidelines of various international events, including the BRICS Summit in Kazan in October, and the SCO Summit in Astana in June. There will certainly be other opportunities for maintaining our regular political dialogue.

We also discussed foreign ministry contacts. We have just signed in your presence yet another plan of consultations between our foreign ministries for 2024. We have touched upon briefly certain issues of intergovernmental cooperation in practical areas. This set of tasks will be considered in more detail later this year during the upcoming meetings of five intergovernmental commissions led by deputy prime ministers to be held as part of preparations for the regular prime ministerial meeting.

The issues we are addressing in the economy, trade, investment, and innovative technology are directly related to the effort to establish a fair multipolar world order free from diktat, hegemony, and neo-colonial and colonial practices, which are being used to the utmost extent by the United States and the rest of the collective West that has bowed without question to Washington’s will. 

China and Russia will continue  to defend the need to rectify this situation in international economic relations and to be committed to democratising these relations and returning to the principles that were proclaimed a while ago and consist in the requirement to respect the market processes, fair competition, inviolability of property, presumption of innocence, and much more, which the West is flouting in the grossest of manners by its practical steps expressed in imposing illegal sanctions on a number of states, including Russia.  But they are beginning to use the same policy with regard to the People’s Republic of China, including in a bid to restrict its economic and technological development capabilities, or, speaking plainly, to get rid of a rival.

We discussed the Russia-China cross-cultural years which will start soon. Additionally, we explored various other areas of cultural cooperation, including the planning of new projects such as the Intervision international song contest, the Open Eurasian Film Award, and several sporting events. Building upon the events held in Kazan in February-March, such as the Games of the Future, in which Chinese athletes took part, forthcoming events include the BRICS Games, the Children of Asia International Sports Games, and the World Friendship Games. Unlike certain other events, numerous upcoming sporting events will rely on the foundational ideals of Olympism that are enshrined in the Olympic Charter. It is regrettable that the current leadership of the International Olympic Committee disregards these principles in favour of appeasing certain hegemonic powers that strive to preserve their hegemony at all costs.

Minister Wang Yi mentioned that we discussed the forthcoming 75th anniversary of diplomatic relations between our countries. As a reminder, the Soviet Union was the first to recognise the People’s Republic of China the very next day it was established and helped it rebuild the nation. We agreed to prepare a series of commemorative events to mark this anniversary. We also explored potential initiatives for marking the upcoming 80th anniversary of Victory over German Nazism and Japanese militarism next year. It’s important to recognise the pivotal role played by the peoples of the Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China in defeating Germany and militaristic Japan.

For obvious reasons, we focused on aligning our strategies on the global stage. This coordination relies on largely overlapping interests and approaches to key international challenges. Given Russia’s current BRICS chairmanship, much attention was paid to the future of the alliance with more members to join it, the establishment of a new category of partner nations, and the general agenda of the upcoming summit in Kazan scheduled for October. The Council of Foreign Ministers will meet in Nizhny Novgorod in June. Mr Wang Yi confirmed his participation in it. At this meeting, we will review pivotal issues to be considered by our respective leaders.

We discussed cooperation within the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation. In June, the People’s Republic of China will replace Kazakhstan as the SCO chair. There are promising opportunities to align the SCO agendas for advancing this vast Eurasian region with the BRICS programmes, which advocate similar ideals and principles on a global scale. This alignment serves to advance the interests of Asia, Africa, and Latin America, especially amid the declining Western globalisation model which lost almost all of its credibility.

Of course, we also addressed bilateral cooperation across other platforms, such as the UN, the G20, and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC). We have close, mutually beneficial, and productive ties in each of the above organisations.

We spoke about the current state of affairs regarding the Ukrainian crisis. We are grateful to our Chinese friends for their unbiased, balanced position and their readiness to play a positive role in the political and diplomatic settlement. The well-known “12 points” that China put forward in 2023 clearly articulate the need, first, to take into account the root causes of this conflict, and second, in efforts to resolve it, to seek to eliminate these causes, first and foremost, in the context of ensuring equal and indivisible security, including in Europe and in the entire world. Chinese friends make it clear that it is necessary to take into account the legitimate concerns of all parties involved, first and foremost their security. In this context, my Chinese colleagues and I have confirmed the conclusion about the futility of any international efforts that do not take into account Russia's position but completely ignore it and promote an absolutely empty, ultimatum-like "Zelensky's peace formula," and are therefore completely detached from reality.

We spoke at length about the tasks of ensuring security and stability in the Asia-Pacific region against the background of the US policy of creating closed military-political alliances with a limited set of members. They have a blatant anti-Chinese and anti-Russian bias and, among other things, are aimed at breaking the security architecture that has been developed for many decades around ASEAN according to the very formats that this Association has offered to its partners, which are based on inclusiveness, consensus, mutual respect and rejection of unilateral actions. All this does not suit the United States and its allies. They, as I said, are promoting bloc approaches here and declaring the need to introduce the North Atlantic Alliance into the region.

With regard to the situation around Taiwan, which is an integral part of China, we are unanimous with Beijing in rejecting any interference from outside, as it is an internal affair of the People's Republic of China. We talked about the situation on the Korean peninsula. We are interested in peace and stability in this region, just like our Chinese friends.

We discussed in detail the Middle East settlement and what is happening around the Gaza Strip. We also have common positions here, which we defend at the UN Security Council.

In a broader context, we exchanged views on the prospect of forming a new security structure in Eurasia against the background of the complete stagnation and self-destruction of Euro-Atlantic mechanisms.

The talks took place in an atmosphere of friendship, traditional for Russian-Chinese relations, and once again demonstrated the commonality of our countries' views on major global developments and our desire to strengthen bilateral ties in the interest of peace and stability in the region and on the entire planet. We will continue our dialogue on the basis of the plans we have just endorsed in your presence. I once again express my gratitude to our Chinese friends.

Question: The collective West is using aggressive dual deterrence methods against Russia and China to prevent their progress and to hinder the implementation of the sovereign policies. Are you and your Chinese partners considering dual deterrence response measures? What could they be?

Sergey Lavrov: I won’t give away a secret if I say that Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi came up with the formula of “double counteraction to double deterrence” yesterday. Our respective leaders, President Vladimir Putin and President Xi Jinping, have repeatedly underscored Russia and China’s resolve to counter the attempts to slow down the formation of a multipolar world and the long overdue processes of democratisation and justice that are knocking at the door of the modern world order. The United States and its allies are trying to stop them in an effort to perpetuate their unjust position within the international system. We remember how our leaders formulated the task of standing back to back and shoulder to shoulder against the attempts to slow down the objective course of history.

My colleague covered in detail the specific economic problems created by the unlawful policy of unilateral sanctions. We will address them within the framework of BRICS and the SCO. At a time when the United States and its satellites are capable of disrupting steady financing, logistics, transport and investment chains at any moment, it is time to think about how these issues, such as transition to national currencies, creating alternative payment platforms, including the decisions in this regard adopted within BRICS, and the activities of regional organisations such as the above-mentioned SCO and CELAC, can be considered and addressed by different entities.

The West has proved that the system of the international financial and economic ties that it created and offered to the rest of the world is unreliable, because the West can at any moment punish anyone who disagrees with its neocolonial policy.

These processes are underway in almost all spheres of public life, including the economy and security. We share our focus on strengthening security in Eurasia. For a long time now, there has been a Euro-Atlantic security entity in the form of NATO and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe. They have crossed themselves out from the list of relevant organisations that can be used to conduct meaningful talks and to agree on things based on a balance of interests.

Considering this, forming Eurasian security is an issue that needs to be addressed. President Vladimir Putin mentioned this in his address to the Federal Assembly. We have agreed with our Chinese friends to begin a dialogue on this matter and involve other like-minded countries.

Question: I would like to talk about the drone strikes by Ukraine against the Zaporozhye NPP. The situation clearly calls for decisive action. What may the response be like?

Sergey Lavrov: With regard to another terrorist strike by the Ukrainian regime, this time on the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant, the Foreign Ministry, our representative to the IAEA, and our representative to the UN Security Council have made statements. We will bring this issue to special meetings of the IAEA Board of Governors and the UN Security Council. We will insist on obtaining direct, without any prevarication, assessments of the Ukrainian regime’s actions.

When we agreed to have the IAEA experts to be the permanently present at the ZNPP, we were guided, among other things, by the need to provide an objective assessment of what is happening there, how the plant is managed, and how nuclear and physical safety is ensured. We assumed that such attacks against Europe’s largest nuclear power plant would be documented. So far, the provocations by the Ukrainian regime have, to our deep regret, caused only “regret” and “concern” in the statements by IAEA Director General Rafaelo Grossi and his staff. They failed to state the obvious which is from where and by whom the terrorist attacks were plotted and carried out. I believe this time they will not get away with it.

We are interested in cooperating with the IAEA and the UN Secretariat, but we will push for them to provide an honest recognition of what is happening not only around ZNPP, but around Ukraine in general as well.

So far, the assessments provided by international officials of all aspects of the developments unfolding around this country and within the special military operation in response to the hybrid war unleashed against us by the West with the hands of the Ukrainians have been, to put it mildly, one-sided. This state of affairs should be redressed. Unfortunately, it reflects the situation where the secretariats of numerous intergovernmental and interstate organisations become subordinate to the West and overstaffed with employees from the Western countries to the detriment of fair geographical representation of the Global Majority countries. We raised this issue last year. We will do our best to push forward the reform of this system.


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