MOSCOW, August 5. /TASS/. Joint military exercises carried out by Russia and China will help to confront new international threats and challenges, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in an interview with Channel News Asia on Wednesday.
He said challenges were numerous, citing "Piracy, smuggling, including smuggling of potentially dangerous materials". "Maybe materials related to weapons of mass destruction. So it’s about piracy, it’s about non-proliferation, just the same purposes as we are being engaged together with NATO, together with China, with the European Union in the Gulf of Guinea, in the Gulf of Aden, the Somalia piracy coalition," the top diplomat said.
As for the exercises, "this is not something unique," he said. "I don’t have statistics but the number of exercises we conduct on our eastern frontiers together with China or other countries is a very tiny percentage of the number of exercises our American neighbours conduct together with Japan, with South Korea and others in this area," Lavrov noted.
"And we are very much concerned about the military buildup taking place in this region, the continued strengthening of the closed military blocs," the top diplomat said.
"Instead of going this way we proposed three years ago together with China, together with Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia and other countries to discuss in the context of the East Asia summit the formation of an open, comprehensive, non-bloc security and cooperation architecture," he said.
"There have been four rounds of discussions and we hope that at the forthcoming East Asia Summit this year the leaders will express themselves on the work being done," the minister summed up.