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Lavrov, Wang Yi to discuss Korean Peninsula situation, Syrian crisis

March 11, 5:29 UTC+3 MOSCOW
Beijing said for its part that the exchange of information will contribute to maintaining global and regional stability
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Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation and China Wang Yi and Sergei Lavrov

Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation and China Wang Yi and Sergei Lavrov

© Archive EPA / SERGEI Ilnitsky

MOSCOW, March 11. /TASS/. The Foreign Ministers of Russia and China - Sergey Lavrov and Wang Yi, will meet in Moscow on Friday to discuss the bilateral relations, the situation on the Korean Peninsula and the Syrian crisis, the Russian Foreign Ministry reported.

The foreign ministers will consider "a wide range of topical issues of bilateral and international agenda with an emphasis on the key issues of Russian-Chinese cooperation in international affairs, including within the framework of the leading multilateral formats." "The sides will exchange views on critical issues, including the situation around the Korean Peninsula and efforts to resolve the crisis in Syria," the ministry said.

Beijing said for its part that the exchange of information will contribute to maintaining global and regional stability.

Security dialogue

The minister’s meeting, in fact, was preceded by the second round of the regular dialogue on security issues in Northeast Asia at the level of deputy foreign ministers that was held in Moscow on March 4. The delegations included experts of the foreign and defense ministries.

The situation on the Korean peninsula has actually become a leitmotif of these consultations. Moscow and Beijing opposed the desire of separate states to use the negative trends for turning the military balance of forces in their favor.

"The negative impact of the plans for the deployment in the Republic of Korea of the US THAAD missile defense systems on the military-political situation in Northeast Asia was emphasized," the Foreign Ministry said then.

Senior diplomats paid attention "to the inadmissibility of sliding to confrontation and whipping up the arms race in the region."

Russia and China are strongly opposed to an arms race in outer space, and the joint initiative on no first deployment of arms in space is aimed at its prevention. The United States, however, planning "Star Wars", slyly argues that the Russian-Chinese proposal does not provide for verification measures.

North Korea: what is justified and that it is impermissible

Pyongyang carried out on Thursday tests of two short-range missiles, which caused strong dissatisfaction in Seoul and Washington. However, the US-South Korean military exercises are unprecedented in the number and types of weapons involved, and the type of drilled operations, which certainly does not contribute to de-escalation of tensions, diplomats say. In particular, the stated aim of the drills is the North Korean leadership. "Naturally, the DPRK as a state that is clearly referred to as the object of such military activity, cannot but be rationally concerned over its safety," the Russian Foreign Ministry said. "Russia has repeatedly publicly declared its opposition to such manifestations of military and political pressure on Pyongyang".

At the same time in Moscow has called (DPRK’s) public statements threatening to deliver some "preventive nuclear strikes" on their opponents categorically impermissible.

Beijing spoke in the same vein. Wang Yi expressed support and understanding for Pyongyang’s desire to develop and ensure its security. "However, we are in favor of the denuclearization of the peninsula and against the development of North Korea's nuclear and missile programs," said the Chinese foreign minister. "It is necessary to soberly evaluate the situation and conclude that peace, negotiations and mutual cooperation are possible only without nuclear weapons."

Syria: indefinite ceasefire and immediate negotiations

The ceasefire regime in Syria has been generally observed, largely thanks to the work of the Reconciliation Center working at Russia’s Khmeimim base. More and more Syrian sides are increasingly aware of the advantages of peaceful life.

The main thing now is to continue active efforts to involve new parties in the peace process and not to stop the joint struggle against international terrorism. The regime of the cessation of hostilities is indefinite, the United Nations has confirmed, correcting an undeliberate statement by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

Persons coming from many countries, including from Russia and China, have joined the ranks of the terrorists, so the task of Syria’s peaceful settlement is of particular importance for the two states.

At the same time it is necessary to promote the political process. Delaying of the inter-Syrian negotiations in Geneva, Switzerland, is fraught with grave consequences, so there should be no preconditions for their start. The broadest possible representation of the opposition at the consultations, including the Kurds, is of particular importance, Moscow says.

The ceasefire has been effective in Syria since February 27. It does not apply to the groups Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra (both outlawed in Russia), and also to other groups declared as terrorist by the UN Security Council.

The Russian Defense Ministry announced the establishment of the Reconciliation Center on February 23. It is headquartered at the Khmeimim air base, Latakia province. The center was set up in line with agreements reached by Russia and the United States to facilitate the negotiations between the Syrian government and opposition and to organize humanitarian deliveries. 

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