Russia, China and the New Global Multipolar Reality

At the recent Assembly of the Council on Foreign and Defence Policy (CFDP) which was held in Moscow, Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov made some very interesting comments about the current state of global geopolitics and how it is evolving.  Here are some of the interesting excerpts with all bolds being mine.

1.) The multipolar worldThe current stage in global development consists of a transition to a global multipolarity, which has been going on for many years now. This transition from a US-led model with the West at its core to a more democratic and sustainable world order will take a long time.

2.) The shift in the geopolitical centre of gravityEveryone understands that as far as international affairs and development are concerned, the centre of gravity is shifting from the Euro-Atlantic to the Asia-Pacific, and Eurasia as its essential component. International relations are becoming increasingly inclusive and open to a diverse mix of influences. It builds on a multitude of intertwined factors such as development and statehood models, political traditions, cultural and civilisational codes, and much more. All these processes need to be conceptualised. One thing is clear. The traditional balance of power will not bring about a sustainable and lasting solution to this issue. What we need is a balance of interests.

3.) Washington's current strategyOne of the fashionable trends today is the US-invented Indo-Pacific strategies embodied in the foursome QUAD – the United States, Japan, India, and Australia – and the recent creation of the bloc [known as] AUKUS. All of this tends to erode the universal formats in the APR, which have existed for the last few decades under the ASEAN aegis and have been ASEAN-centric….The Indo-Pacific concept is aimed at breaking up this system that relied on the need to respect the indivisibility of security and has openly proclaimed that its chief objective is containing China.

4.) Russia's current foreign policyThe goal of our current policy, which has been formalised in the Foreign Policy Concept approved by President Putin, is to create maximally favourable external conditions for our internal development in terms of security, economic objectives, the social situation of our citizens and the improvement of our positions within the country. Unlike the United States – trust me that this is so indeed – we have no ideological likes and dislikes, or any taboos in relations with our foreign partners. This is our methodological and practical advantage, because it allows us to play an active mediation role during the settlement of conflicts, which we consider important to keep on our agenda, to maintain contact with all the players without exception when it comes to both irreconcilable state entities and to antagonists within the countries in the flames of conflict.

Russia's leadership is very aware of Washington's shift to the Far East, particularly driven by its dislike for China.  

If we want to get a sense of how Russia views China and its relationship with Taiwan, a key sticking point in the relationship between Washington and Beijing, here is a key exchange from a brief press conference held following Lavrov's visit to Kazakhstan on October 12, 2021:

Question: What does Russia think about the actions of China, which has recently resumed its attempts to reunite with Taiwan? Do we see them as a threat to regional security?

Sergey Lavrov: Russia, like the overwhelming majority of other countries, considers Taiwan to be part of the People's Republic of China. We have proceeded and will proceed from this premise in our foreign policy.

As background, Taiwan has diplomatic relations with only 15 nations as follows:

Taiwan also has substantial ties with Australia, Canada, EU nations, Japan, New Zealand and the United States. 

Let's close this posting with this exchange from a recent press conference held with China's Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian which was held on October 8, 2021:

Shenzhen TV: Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov recently said that by putting forward an Indo-Pacific strategy and creating the Quad mechanism and the AUKUS security partnership, the US intends to undercut the decades-old ASEAN-centered cooperation model. Such a strategy towards handling regional politics is aimed at openly containing China and undermining the existing system. Does the Chinese side have a comment?

Zhao Lijian: That's very well-put indeed! Foreign Minister Lavrov's views reflect the shared concern of the vast majority of ASEAN countries. The US Indo-Pacific strategy, AUKUS and Quad are all closed and exclusive cliques informed by the Cold War zero-sum mentality with strong military security undertones. They will spur regional arms race, aggravate tension, and undermine regional unity and cooperation. The US practice of ganging up against a third party runs counter to regional countries' common aspiration to seek shared development through dialogue and cooperation and advance regional integration. It wins no hearts and has no future. Many ASEAN countries have questioned and opposed these moves to various degrees.

The ASEAN-centered regional cooperation architecture is consistent with East Asian tradition and realistic needs. It is of great significance for enhancing regional countries' solidarity, cooperation and common development, and should be cherished and consolidated. Regional countries should be on high alert for any attempt to weaken and hollow ASEAN centrality and jointly reject all erroneous practices that violate international fairness and justice, create division and stoke confrontation in the region.

…and, finally this:

The US should abandon the obsolete Cold War zero-sum mentality and narrow geopolitical notions, and stop such erroneous practice (cooperating with Australia over the acquisition of nuclear submarines) that undermine regional peace, stability and development.

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