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Chinese, Russian FMs assail US ‘unilateralism’

Updated April 06, 2018

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MOSCOW: Russian President Vladimir Putin (left) shakes hands with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi during a meeting at the Kremlin on Thursday.—AFP
MOSCOW: Russian President Vladimir Putin (left) shakes hands with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi during a meeting at the Kremlin on Thursday.—AFP

MOSCOW: The foreign ministers of Russia and China jointly denounced what they described on Thursday as the unilateralism of the United States, criticism that underlined their growing rapport on global issues.

Speaking in Moscow after talks with his Russian counterpart, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi strongly criticised Washington’s move to hike tariffs on Chinese products.

“If the US thinks that it can get advantages through protectionism, its calculus is wrong,” Wang warned.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, when asked about Russia’s view of the US-Chinese trade conflict, said the US action reflects the Trump administration’s unilateralist approach to international concerns.

He cited as examples the US push to renegotiate a nuclear deal with Iran and the terms of an international climate agreement.

“It has nothing to do with diplomacy. It’s an attempt to enforce its own interests while completely ignoring the interests of others,” Lavrov said.

Russia’s recently reinvigorated support for China reflects its disappointment with Washington after the Kremlin hoped for improved relations under President Donald Trump.

Trump has approved higher duties on Chinese telecoms, aerospace and other technology goods but left time to negotiate by announcing a comment period through May 11.

Chinese regulators made a $50 billion list of items on which the country could increase tariffs to retaliate, including soybeans and small aircraft.

Wang warned that Washington’s move would hurt the global economy and international trade, denouncing it as “typical unilateralism and (an) undisguised attempt at hegemony.” “The international community must jointly oppose such unilateralism and violation of rules,” he said.

Wang’s trip to Russia follows a Moscow visit earlier this week by new Chinese Defence Minister Wei Fenghe, who said it was a signal to the US of increasingly close Russia-China military ties.

Published in Dawn, April 6th, 2018