Yang delivers Xi’s message to Putin; stresses mutual support of core interests
China and Russia held a new round of strategic security consultations on Tuesday in Moscow, and during the frequent interactions between the two major powers in recent months, the world has showed a dangerous trend of disorder or tensions in some regions, including the Middle East, Eastern Europe, Central Asia and the Western Pacific, due to global strategic shift made by the US,
Chinese analysts said that the recent change has been generally caused by the decline of US hegemony, and not only will US pressure and hostility push China and Russia to stand closer, the decline in Washington’s strength and influence in some regions will also make Beijing and Moscow consider how to figure out new regional order to stabilize the situation and protect their interests after the US pullout.
Top Chinese diplomat Yang Jiechi and Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev co-chaired the 16th round of strategic security consultations on Tuesday, which is a high-level meeting focusing on strategic cooperation in confronting both regional and global security and geopolitical threats.
Yang, a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the CPC Central Committee, delivered a message from Chinese President Xi Jinping in a phone conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday, which reiterated the bilateral relationship between China and Russia.
The Russian president echoed this message, hoping Yang transfers his greetings for Xi and two top leaders will maintain close communication.
The two sides also discussed issues related to the China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership, reiterating the importance of the Treaty of Good-Neighborliness and Friendly Cooperation between China and Russia and celebration of the 20th anniversary of the signing fo the treaty, in addition to a number of hot topics on global affairs.
Yang will also visit two Eastern European countries and EU members – Slovenia and Croatia — after his visit to Russia.
Although China and Russia have repeatedly expressed that they have no intention to challenge the US and their cooperation won’t target any third party, rising pressure from the US and its allies has always been a key topic on the table of China-Russia discussions.
After Yang told US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan that the US is not qualified to “speak to China from a position of strength” at the Alaska “2+2” dialogue in March, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov also said in an interview with media in the same month that Russia won’t let the US or any other country speak with it “from the position of force.”
The similar remarks made by China and Russia toward the US is a clear signal to the world that the US hegemony will no longer be tolerated, and the world order dominated by the US and its allies is unable to keep stability in many regions, and this kind of order is causing more tensions and conflicts, said Chinese experts.
The US hasty pullout from Afghanistan is resulting in surging violent attacks in the country, and the Palestine-Israel conflict has caused heavy casualties but the US stance was blocking international mediation through the UN Security Council. These are all the signs that make China, Russia and other relevant countries worried due to the wavering “Pax Americana,” experts said.
Yang Jin, an expert at the Institute of Russian, Eastern European and Central Asian Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times that when the US imposes pressure on China and Russia, it also withdraws from many regions with unsolved problems, and these regions such as the Middle East and Central Asia are all closely related to the interests of China and Russia.
So Beijing and Moscow must keep close coordination to handle the upcoming situation, including how to establish a new order to replace the US-dominated one once the latter gets totally dysfunctional, Yang Jin said.
The Shanghai Cooperation Organization, an international organization which China and Russia are among founding members, will need to play a greater role in Afghanistan’s peace process in the future, and it can consider giving Afghanistan membership, said Chinese analysts, noting that the US might want to move its troops from Afghanistan to other Central Asian countries to maintain its military presence, and this is also a new issue that China and Russia need to handle.
Hot spot issues
Chinese and Russian officials would focus on a range of regional and global issues, including Central Asian stability, after the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan, foreign interference into their internal affairs, Western threats against the political security of the two countries and their neighbors or allies, anti-disinformation campaign and cyber security, as well as the question about the biolab security, according to Chinese experts.
Among a wide range of topics, how to confront “the challenges posed by the US-led Quad alliance” that may pose security impacts to China and Russia would also top the agenda of security talks, Wang Xianju, deputy director and research fellow at the Renmin University of China – Russia St. Petersburg State University Russian Research Center, told the Global Times on Tuesday.
India’s shifting position caught the attention of China and Russia, given India has also been reportedly relying on the Quad to disrupt the power of Russia in the region, and China and Russia have not coordinated a position toward such regional strategy led by the Biden administration.
The leaders of Australia, India, Japan and the US met in March, hailing the Quad meeting as “historical” to tackle the regional challenges, while Russia slammed the Quad, accusing the West led by the US of using India as an object in its anti-China game.
“Apparently, the Biden administration didn’t drop off the Indo-Pacific Strategy started by the previous Trump administration,” Wang said.
Due to the most recent incident of detaining an opposition activist at the airport in Minsk by the Belarusian government, ties between Belarus and other Western countries are getting intense, Chinese and Russian senior officials could also mention the issue since Belarus is a close partner of the two major powers in the region.
Putin’s visit to China?
China and Russia have been maintaining frequent interactions over the past year, especially in the face of the US-led containment and unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic. The friendship between the two countries has appeared to be more valuable and outstanding, analysts said.
Last year, the top leaders of the two countries spoke on the phone five times with a practical agenda and on December 28, 2020, the leaders indicated that on celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Treaty of Good-Neighborliness and Friendly Cooperation between China and Russia, the two countries eyed a higher level, broader scale of cooperation in 2021.
The White House announced on Tuesday that the US President Joe Biden will meet with Russian President Putin in Geneva, Switzerland on June 16, 2021 and the two leaders will discuss the full range of pressing issues, as we seek to restore predictability and stability to the US-Russia relationship. the Chinese expert said it’s also reasonable for Putin to visit China after the Russia-US summit to further coordinate with Beijing on global affairs.
Putin might visit China after his summit with Biden in June and before the 20th anniversary of the signing of 2001 China-Russia Treaty of Friendship on July 16, and the 100th founding anniversary of the Communist Party of China on July 1 could also be a friendly occasion and environment for the possible visit, analysts said.
“China-Russia ties have been moving forward steadily… it’s very likely that Putin will visit China in July, at the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the signing of the treaty, while considering the epidemic situation,” which means from June to July, the China-Russia-US trilateral ties would likely see a series of major events, Wang noted.