Amid tensions, US, Russia, China attend ASEAN meetings

Blinken, who entered the room last, did not even glance at Lavrov as he took his own seat about a half-dozen chairs away, or at Wang who was seated farther down the same table as Lavrov…reports Asian Lite News

Amid rising tensions in the Taiwan Strait and ongoing conflict in Ukraine, the United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken joined the foreign ministers of Russia and China at a meeting with top diplomats from Southeast Asian nations.

The East Asia Summit of the ongoing Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) meetings in Phnom Penh, capital of Cambodia, was the first time the three top diplomats were scheduled to take part in the same forum.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi patted Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on the shoulder as he entered the room and gave the already-seated Lavrov a quick wave before taking his own seat. Lavrov waved back in response, the Associated Press reported.

Blinken, who entered the room last, did not even glance at Lavrov as he took his own seat about a half-dozen chairs away, or at Wang who was seated farther down the same table as Lavrov, it was reported.

Meanwhile, commenting on the White House’s statements about a possible contact between Lavrov and Blinken during the ASEAN gala dinner, the Russian delegation told Sputnik that Foreign Minister Lavrov talked to everyone who was not hiding.

Earlier, National Security Council Strategic Communications Coordinator John Kirby said that Blinken would seek contact with Lavrov on the sidelines of the ASEAN ministerial meeting in Cambodia to discuss the prisoner exchange. Kirby said he had no doubt that if Blinken “has an opportunity to buttonhole Mr. Lavrov, he will do so.”

 “There was contact with everyone who was not hiding. Sergey Viktorovich’s buttons are all intact, as well as zipper,” the delegation’s spokesperson said.

The issue of a prisoner exchange between Russia and the United States gained additional resonance after a Russian court sentenced US basketball player Brittney Griner to nine years in prison and a $16,280 fine for drug smuggling and possession.


Lavrov lauds Russia-China ties

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Friday called Moscow’s alliance with Beijing a backstop of international law against the backdrop of Russia’s ongoing war on Ukraine.

“Our strategic partnership is one of the pillars of the movement for the triumph of international law,” dpa news agency quoted Lavrowv as saying to Interfax at the ministerial meeting of the ASEAN.

The Foreign Minister presented himself as a protector of the UN Charter, which grants sovereignty to all states on an equal footing.

He also criticized the US for constantly violating this principle.

“We participate together with the Chinese People’s Republic in the recently created Group of Friends for the Protection of the UN Charter,” Lavrov said, adding that he expected the group to grow.

Washington’s attempts to demonstrate its dominance in ever new places in the world will fail, he added.

The Russian leadership justifies its own war against Ukraine, which violates international law, on the one hand with the alleged “liberation” of the people there, and on the other as a defence against a planned expansion of NATO which threatens Russia.

China is officially neutral in the conflict, but blames the West for the escalation.

Moscow recently retaliated in the Taiwan crisis with diplomatic support for Beijing’s military manoeuvres off the island.


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