Lavrov: Russia, China to talk about deeper security co-operation in Eurasia

Russia and China have agreed to discuss ways to deepen security co-operation across Europe and Asia to counter attempts by the United States to impose its will on the region, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Tuesday after talks in Beijing.

China and Russia declared a “no limits” partnership in February 2022 when President Vladimir Putin visited Beijing just days before he sent tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine, triggering the deadliest land war in Europe since World War Two.

Lavrov, after talks with Chinese counterpart Wang Yi, said that Putin had suggested strengthening Eurasian security and that China and Russia had agreed to “start a dialogue with the involvement of our other like-minded people on this issue”.

“For a long time, there was a Euro-Atlantic security structure in the form of NATO, of course, as well as the OSCE, but it is striking itself out from the list of relevant structures within which it is possible to conduct meaningful negotiations and agree on something based on a balance of interests,” Lavrov said.

The two countries should oppose “hegemonism” and “any ‘small circle’ that engages in bloc confrontation,” said Wang, China’s top diplomat.

“NATO should not extend its hand to our common homeland,” he added.

Lavrov met Chinese President Xi Jinping after the meeting with Wang, state media said.

The United States casts China as its biggest competitor and Russia as its biggest nation-state threat while U.S. President Joe Biden argues that this century will be defined by an existential contest between democracies and autocracies.

Putin and Xi share a broad world view, which sees the West as decadent and in decline, just as China challenges U.S. supremacy in everything from quantum computing and synthetic biology to espionage and hard military power.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said on Monday she had difficult conversations with Chinese officials during her visit on its co-operation with Moscow.

Yellen warned of “significant consequences” for any Chinese companies supporting Russia’s war in Ukraine.

Yellen also said in these meetings that the U.S. would not rule out tariffs on clean energy imports from China to protect its industry.

Russia and China should “jointly oppose unilateralism and protectionism” and “work together to maintain the stability of international industry and supply chains”, Wang said.


China has strengthened trade and military ties with Russia in recent years as the United States and its allies imposed sanctions on both, but particularly Moscow for the invasion of Ukraine.

China-Russian trade hit a record of $240.1 billion in 2023, up 26.3% from a year earlier, Chinese customs data shows. Chinese shipments to Russia jumped 46.9% in 2023 while imports from Russia rose 13%.

Russia has become China’s top crude supplier, as its oil shipments to China jumped more than 24% in 2023 despite Western sanctions.

China-United States trade fell 11.6% to $664.5 billion in 2023, Chinese customs data shows.

One year into the Ukraine war, China published in 2023 a 12-point position paper on settling the Ukraine crisis. Russia has said China’s position is reasonable.

Lavrov said Russia wanted the United Nations Security Council to give an assessment of Ukrainian drone attacks on the Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station. Ukraine has denied it is behind the drone attacks.

China backs an international conference recognised by both Kyiv and Moscow to “discuss all peace options on an even footing”, Wang said.

Both ministers said their countries would strengthen ties against terrorism.

Militant group Islamic State claimed responsibility for the shooting at a concert venue near Moscow where at least 144 people died, but Russia, without providing evidence, has said it believes Ukraine was behind the attack.

“Our co-operation on counter-terrorism will continue, including within the framework of multilateral institutions,” Lavrov said.

Last month, Reuters reported that Putin will travel to China in May for talks with Xi, in what could be the first overseas trip of his new presidential term.

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