March 24, 2021 Special Dispatch No. 9252

Following U.S.-China Meeting, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi Meets With His Russian Counterpart Lavrov In China; Chinese Foreign Ministry: 'The Two... Said The International Community Believes That The U.S. Should Reflect On The Damage It Has Done To Global Peace, Halt Unilateral Bullying, [And] Stop Meddling In Other Countries' Domestic Affairs'

March 24, 2021
Russia, China | Special Dispatch No. 9252

On March 22-23, 2021, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with his Russian counterpart, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, in Guilin City in China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. Notably, this meeting took place soon after the March 18-19 U.S.-China meeting in Anchorage, Alaska, with the intent of demonstrating that Moscow and Beijing are coordinating their response to Washington.[1]

In the meeting, the two ministers discussed China-Russia cooperation and, according to the Russian Foreign Ministry statement on the meeting, criticized "Western attempts to promote its concept of a rules-based international order." Lavrov stressed that China and Russia both reject the "illegal unilateral sanctions" leveled by the West and discussed the two countries' efforts to reduce the influence of the U.S. dollar.

The two also signed a joint statement on current global governance issues, which, according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry, "explains the right connotation of concepts including human rights, democracy, international order, and multilateralism and demonstrates the two sides' firm determination to jointly defend international justice and fairness."[2] In particular in the joint statement, the two sides reiterated their rejection of the notion of the universality of human rights,[3] and expressed their belief that there is no uniform standard for the model of democracy.

According to Chinese analysts, the joint statement is a significant setback for the U.S. "rules-based international order," as it stresses that all countries must resolutely safeguard the international structure, which includes the United Nations, and the international order, which is based on international law.[4][5]

Commenting on the meeting, Lavrov added that Russia and China are preparing "high-level" and "top-level" bilateral contacts. He added that preparations are underway to mark the 20th anniversary of the Treaty of Good Neighborliness, Friendship and Cooperation between the Russian Federation and the People's Republic of China, signed July 16, 2001.[6][7]

It is worth noting that this is Foreign Minister Lavrov's first visit to China since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the first face-to-face meeting between the two foreign ministers in six months. Minister Wang visited Russia in September 2020.

Following is a full translation of the Chinese and Russian Foreign Ministers' joint statement, and the transcripts and reports of the meeting provided by the foreign ministries of both countries:


Ministers Of Foreign Affairs Of The People's Republic Of China And The Russian Federation Joint Statement 'On Several Current Issues Of Global Governance'

Below is the joint statement on "several current issues of global governance," signed by Chinese FM Wang Yi and Russian FM Sergey Lavrov in Guilin, on March 23, 2021:[8]

'There Is No Uniform Standard For The Model Of Democracy'

"The continued spread of the coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the evolution of the international landscape, resulting in new global threats and challenges, as well as further imbalances in the global governance system, shocks to the economic development process, and a period of turbulent change in the world. We urge the international community to put differences aside, forge consensus, strengthen collaboration, and promote the creation of a more just, democratic, and rational multipolar international order in order to maintain world peace and geostrategic stability.

  1. "All human rights are universal, indivisible and interrelated. Sustainable development is the foundation of improving the living standard and welfare of people in every country, which can promote the enjoyment of all human rights. Development goes hand in hand with the realization of all human rights and fundamental freedoms. All countries should take this as a starting point and protect and practice human rights in the political, social, economic, cultural and environmental fields according to their national conditions, so as to promote the all-round development of people and enhance their well-being. Advocating and protecting human rights is also a common cause of the international community. All countries should attach equal importance to and systematically promote all kinds of human rights, oppose politicization of human rights issues, abandon interference in other countries' internal affairs and double standards through human rights issues, and conduct dialogues in this field on the basis of equality and mutual respect for the benefit of people of all countries.

  2. "Democracy is one of the achievements of human development. The legislative form of ensuring that power belongs to the people, i.e. that citizens have the right to manage the affairs of the state and the legitimate exercise of power, is one of its defining features. There is no uniform standard for the model of democracy. The legitimate right of sovereign states to choose their own path of development should be respected. Interfering in sovereign states' internal affairs under the guise of 'promoting democracy' is unacceptable.

  3. "International law is the cornerstone of the development of human society. All countries, without exception, should firmly safeguard the international system with the United Nations as the core and the international order based on international law. We reaffirm the 2016 Declaration of the Russian Federation and the People's Republic of China on the Promotion of International Law,[9] emphasizing the importance of the United Nations Charter, and how its purposes and principles contribute to world peace and security and the advancement of international law.

"The international community's approach to international affairs should be based on universally recognized principles of international law, which should be jointly formulated and observed. We urge world powers, particularly permanent members of the UN Security Council, to strengthen mutual trust and lead efforts to safeguard international law and the international order on which it is based. A summit meeting of the permanent members of the UN Security Council is urgently needed, given the current state of international political turmoil, to explore ways to solve common problems of all mankind through direct dialogue and maintain global stability.

"The international community should adhere to the principles of openness, equality and non-ideological multilateralism, jointly address global challenges and threats, strive to maintain the authority of the multilateral system, improve its effectiveness, improve the global governance system, jointly safeguard peace and strategic stability, promote the development of human civilization and ensure that all countries enjoy the fruits of development on an equal footing. At the same time, dialogue should be the primary means of dealing with international issues, and the international community should be united rather than divided, cooperating rather than confronting."

Minister for Foreign Affairs 
of the Russian Federation

(Signed) Sergey Lavrov


State Councilor and Foreign Minister 
of the People's Republic of China

(Signed) Wang Yi

Chinese MFA' Report On The Wang Yi-Lavrov Meeting

Below is the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs' report about the meeting between Chinese FM Wang Yi and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Guilin:[10]

All countries should 'uphold true multilateralism

"On March 22, 2021, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Guilin City, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. The two sides first conducted strategic communication on international and regional issues of common concern and reached broad consensus.

"The two sides briefed each other on the latest developments of their respective relations with the United States. The two foreign ministers said the international community believes that the United States should reflect on the damage it has done to global peace and development in recent years, halt unilateral bullying, stop meddling in other countries' domestic affairs, and stop forming small circles to seek bloc confrontation. All countries should follow the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations (UN), uphold true multilateralism, make international relations more democratic, and accept and promote peaceful coexistence and common development of countries with different social systems and development paths.

"On the Iranian nuclear issue, the two sides believe that the United States should unconditionally return to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) as soon as possible and revoke the unilateral sanctions against Iran. At the same time, they called on Iran to resume compliance and encouraged the JCPOA's due role in preventing nuclear proliferation. The two sides also proposed the establishment of a regional security dialogue platform to converge a new consensus on resolving the security concerns of countries in the region.

"On the Afghanistan issue, the two ministers attached importance to various international efforts, including the Moscow process, and hope that all dialogue mechanisms related to Afghanistan will complement each other, truly embody the 'Afghan-led, Afghan-owned' principle, and seize opportunities to accelerate the peace, reconciliation and reconstruction process.

"On the Myanmar issue, the two ministers expressed deep concern about the current situation in the country. They voiced the support for all parties in Myanmar to seek a political solution to the current crisis within the constitution and legal framework, avoid further conflict and bloodshed, prevent external forces from taking advantage of the crisis for their own gains, and continue to advance the democratic transition.

"The two sides also coordinated positions on a wide range of issues such as UN reform, climate change, Asia-Pacific situation, Syria and Sudan. On March 23, 2021, the two sides will continue talks on bilateral relations and international and regional situations."


Russian FM Lavrov's Opening Remarks During Talks With Chinese FM Wang Yi

The following are Russian FM Lavrov's opening remarks during the talks with Chinese FM Wang Yi in Guilin, on March 23, 2021:[11]

'The Global Situation Is Not Becoming Any Simpler; It Is Increasingly Characterized By The Attempts Of Our Western Colleagues To Ensure Their Domination'

"Mr. Minister, dear friend,

"I am delighted to meet with you again, as you have said, for the 51st time, in the wonderful city of Guilin. I am confident that today we will take one more step towards expanding our strategic cooperation and multifaceted partnership.

"In the past 12 months, during the fight against the coronavirus infection, we have once again seen that the Chinese people possess such outstanding qualities as discipline and perseverance. I firmly believe that our relationship symbolizes relations between our countries and peoples. Our friendship reflects the solid and neighborly bond between Russia and China. Acting in line with the tasks that were formulated by the leaders of our countries, President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin and President of the People's Republic of China Xi Jinping, as well as agreements at the level of heads of government (the 25th meeting in this format was held recently), we must bolster all these agreements and move towards achieving foreign policy goals set by our leaders.

"As you have noted, the global situation is not becoming any simpler. It is increasingly characterized by the attempts of our Western colleagues to ensure their domination, by hook or by crook, disregarding the objective pace of history that facilitates the establishment of a multipolar international order. We need to mobilize our supporters while defending justice and the principles of the UN Charter which, as I have repeatedly said, are being increasingly ignored by Western colleagues. They are trying to invent their own rules and to impose them on all others.

"I am convinced that draft documents that the two of us will sign today meet the current demands. The joint statement by the foreign ministers of Russia and China on some issues of global governance in the modern conditions and the Plan of Consultations between the foreign ministries of Russia and China for 2021 are very timely documents. They will help advance our coordination more clearly and effectively.

"This year, we will mark a number of important events, including the 20th anniversary of the Treaty on Good-Neighborliness and Friendly Cooperation.[12] The leaders of Russia and China are planning to make a statement in connection with this anniversary. Our task is to prepare it well.

"On the whole, I completely share your desire to continue using cooperation between our foreign ministries to strengthen the positions of our countries on the international scene in full compliance with the principles of international law and the UN Charter.

"Thank you."


Russian FM Lavrov's Remarks And Answers To Media Questions Following Talks With Chinese FM of China Wang Yi

The following are Russian FM Lavrov's remarks and answers to media questions, following the talks with Chinese FM Wang Yi in Guilin, on March 23, 2021:[13]

'Moscow And Beijing Stand For Developing Interstate Relations On The Principles Of Mutual Respect'

"Ladies and gentlemen,

"It gives me great pleasure to be in this wonderful place, enjoying the unique nature of this province. We really do admire these landscapes, but I can assure you that this has not prevented us from holding extremely business-like and practical talks. They were held in a traditionally friendly and trust-based manner.

"We pointed out once again that Russia and China continue their close and fruitful cooperation in virtually all spheres on the international stage despite the coronavirus pandemic, in all the spheres which have been identified as our priorities during contacts between President of Russia Vladimir Putin and President of China Xi Jinping.

"We will continue to strengthen our relations of comprehensive partnership and strategic interaction. We have had a useful discussion on ways to boost our practical cooperation in the conditions created by the current epidemiological restrictions.

"We highlighted the preparations being made for Russian-Chinese contacts at the high and highest levels. We have submitted to our partners a draft joint statement of our heads of state on the 20th anniversary of the Treaty on Good-Neighborliness and Friendly Cooperation between the Russian Federation and the People's Republic of China.

"We discussed our positions on the main international topics and found them similar. Moscow and Beijing stand for developing interstate relations on the principles of mutual respect and a balance of each other's interests, justice and non-interference in others' internal affairs. We reject zero sum political games and the illegal unilateral sanctions, which our Western colleagues have been using increasingly more often.

"We share the opinion that Russian-Chinese foreign policy interaction remains a vital factor in global affairs. We pointed out the destructive character of US aspiration to undermine the UN-centric international legal framework by using the military-political alliances of the Cold War period and creating similar closed alliances. We noted the growing importance of the joint activities of Russia, China and a wide range of other countries to preserve the current system of international law in the context of the increasing Western attempts to promote its concept of a rules-based international order.

"We expressed our appreciation for the high level of coordination at various multilateral platforms, including the UN, the G20, the SCO, BRICS, RIC, APEC, as well as EAS and other ASEAN-based regional cooperation bodies. We spoke about the preparations for the summit of the UN Security Council permanent members, which has been proposed by President Putin and supported by President Xi Jinping.

"As Minister Wang Yi said, we have signed a joint statement, which reflects the views of Russia and China on vital issues such as democracy, human rights, international law and the necessity to find collective approaches to solving global problems.

"We signed an annual plan for consultations between our foreign ministries. It stipulates numerous contacts this year at the level of deputy foreign ministers and the heads of relevant departments designed to hold practical discussions on a wide range of global and regional matters.

"Speaking on behalf of our delegation, I would like to once again express our deep gratitude to our Chinese friends for their hospitality and for substantive joint work."

'We Are Switching To The National Currency In Our Trade With Other Major Partners'

Question: "How does Russia plan on moving away from using international payment systems controlled by the West? Are there any specific agreements with China to create a common system as opposed to the Western ones? What can it be based on? Russia's Mir card or China's UnionPay system?"

Sergey Lavrov: "This work has been underway for quite a long time now in different areas. We have our own financial messaging system. The respective financial departments of Russia and China plan to expand its use.

"For many years now we have been trying to transfer trade to settlements in national currencies. There's a corresponding mechanism which is quite effective. We are switching to the national currency in our trade with other major partners.

"This is the imperative of our time. The people behind the global monetary system suddenly decided they were unhappy with the way other countries, in particular China, are using this system. China is beating the West at its own game. Hence, the reaction of the United States. Wang Yi covered this in detail. You cannot do global business by means of ultimatums and sanctions, or force other countries to behave as expected of them. We have a proverb: You can't force your love on another person. Unfortunately, the United States has not learned this and is acting from the opposite position.

"I'm convinced that Russia and China will do their best to ensure their safety and protection against the threats coming from the states that are unfriendly towards our respective countries. This also applies to ways of conducting trade, mutual settlements and everything else that makes us stronger."

'From The Outset Of The Pandemic, Russia And China Have Been Showing An Example Of Openness, Cooperation And Mutual Assistance'

Question (translated from Chinese and addressed to Wang Yi): "Chinese and Russian vaccines are being delivered to dozens of countries all around the world. There are unfounded speculations that China is promoting 'vaccine diplomacy' and Russia is trying to increase its influence. What can you say about this?"

Sergey Lavrov (speaking after Wang Yi): "I fully support what Wang Yi said. From the outset of the pandemic, Russia and China have been showing an example of openness, cooperation and mutual assistance. This interaction continues to this day, including in the sphere of vaccine production and distribution. Our respective institutions remain in contact on these matters.

"On March 22, President Vladimir Putin chaired a meeting on vaccine production and distribution. He clearly spoke in favor of everyone being guided solely by considerations of humanity and the interest of saving lives rather than geopolitical or commercial approaches to overcoming competition. Everyone, including our partners in the West who are trying to portray Russia and China as vaccine diplomacy scammers, must keep this in mind. This is not true."

China And Russia 'Share The Understanding' That Sanctions Are 'Unacceptable In International Life'

Question: "China and Russia are under sanctions pressure from the United States and the EU. Do our countries plan to share their experience of confronting this pressure? How justified is the opinion that both countries' tense relations with the Western powers make them move ever closer to one another?"

Sergey Lavrov: "We have covered Russia and China's reaction to sanctions and the illegitimate unilateral restrictions already today. We share the understanding that these methods are unacceptable in international life. We have more than once stated our position on this score, including in the Joint Statement. I'm convinced that this approach will be reiterated in a clear and unambiguous manner in the document on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Treaty on Good-Neighborliness and Friendly Cooperation between Russia and China that our leaders will approve.

"In addition to our principled approaches that are set forth in public documents, we closely cooperate with many countries at the UN in order to counter these practices. As you are aware, the UN has a Special Rapporteur on unilateral coercive measures. This is already a fairly serious practical move to clarify the unacceptability of this policy. The United States, Europe and the West in general are, in fact, replacing diplomacy, the art which they are losing, with the steps seeking to impose their own rules on everyone else. In their opinion, these rules rather than international law must underlie the international order. Sanctions are among these rules.

"Russia and China do not ally against anyone. Geographically, our country is located on the vast Eurasian continent. China is our good neighbor, as is the EU. We have always been interested in promoting our relations across all areas. Europe has severed these relations and destroyed the mechanisms that have been created over many years. There are only a few European partner countries that have a desire to act based on their national interests.

"Objectively, this led to cooperation between Russia and China developing faster than what is left of relations with the European countries. Importantly, there are no relations with the EU as an organization. The infrastructure was destroyed by unilateral decisions made by Brussels. If and when the Europeans decide to eliminate this anomaly in contacts with their largest neighbor, we will be ready to build up relations between us on the basis of equality and a search for a balance of interests. But so far, all has been quiet on the Western front, whereas the East offers a very intense agenda, which is getting more varied every single year."

Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying's Regular Press Conference On March 22, 2021

Below are excerpts of Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying's regular press conference, commenting on China-Russia relations:[14]

The More Unstable The World Is, The More China And Russia Need To Advance Our Cooperation

CCTV: "Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov said in an interview that the United States and Western countries are pursuing policy of hegemony in international affairs,[15] trying to impede the trend toward a multi-polar and democratic world, and imposing its will and requirements on others. The primary task of China and Russia is to strengthen high-level collaboration and jointly advance multipolarity and regional integration and collaboration. What's your comment?"

Hua Chunying: "Foreign Minister Lavrov's remarks are right to the point. The more unstable the world is, the more China and Russia need to advance our cooperation. For a long period, the U.S. and the West wantonly interfered in other country's domestic affairs by using democracy and human rights as an excuse. Such moves created troubles in the world and even became the source of instability and war. China and Russia always stand together in close cooperation, firmly rejects hegemony and bullying practice and have become a pillar for world peace and stability.

"In the past year, under the leadership of President Xi Jinping and President Putin, China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for a new era achieved remarkable outcomes. In the face of once-in-a-century pandemic and changes, China and Russia stand in solidarity to fight the virus together, and advance cooperation in such areas as economy, trade and scientific innovation despite challenges. The two sides firmly support each other on issues concerning each other's core interests and jointly uphold international fairness and justice. It is fair to say that China-Russia relations withstood the test and emerged stronger with our friendship becoming even closer.

"We believe Foreign Minister Lavrov's on-going visit will further cement the sound momentum of the high-level bilateral relations and bring the two countries closer in the strategic collaboration on international affairs. China is ready to work with Russia to follow through on the consensus of the two heads of state, and take the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Good-neighborliness and Friendly Cooperation as an opportunity to carry forward the spirit of the treaty and advance China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for a new era at greater scope, in wider areas and at deeper levels. The two sides will join hands in building a model of international relations featuring strategic trust, mutually beneficial cooperation, close people-to-people ties, fairness and justice. Together, the two sides can make greater contribution to upholding world peace and stability."

Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying's Regular Press Conference On March 23, 2021

Below are excerpts of Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying's regular press conference, commenting on China-Russia relations:[16]

China And Russia Will Play An Underpinning Role In International Affairs

CCTV: "State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Guilin, Guangxi yesterday. Can you give us more details? What are the outcomes of this meeting? What is China's comment on Foreign Minister Lavrov's visit and what is China's expectation for China-Russia relations going forward?"

Hua Chunying: "State Councilor Wang Yi's meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Guilin, Guangxi in recent days is fruitful. The two foreign ministers had extensive exchange of views and reached a series of new consensus on bilateral relations and major international and regional issues. Both sides also signed and issued a joint statement of Chinese and Russian foreign ministers on issues of the current global governance, which explains the right connotation of concepts including human rights, democracy, international order and multilateralism and demonstrates the two sides' firm determination to jointly defend international justice and fairness.

"This is Foreign Minister Lavrov's first visit to China since the outbreak of the COVID-19 epidemic, and also the first face-to-face meeting between the two foreign ministers six months after State Councilor Wang's visit to Russia last September. It is of important positive significance to a good start of China-Russia relations this year and the political settlement process of relevant international and regional issues. The close and efficient strategic communication between China and Russia, despite the impact of the coronavirus, once again demonstrates the high level and uniqueness of China-Russia relations. It also demonstrates to the international community the commitment and responsibility of China and Russia as major countries in the world and permanent members of the UN Security Council.

"This year marks the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Good-neighborliness and Friendly Cooperation between China and Russia. We believe that taking the visit as a start, the two sides will continue to carry forward the enduring friendship and mutual benefit enshrined in the treaty, fully implement the important consensus between the two heads of state, and give strong backing to each other on issues concerning core interests. As important partners in joint pursuit of development and revitalization, China and Russia will play an underpinning role in international affairs, achieve greater development of China-Russia relations in a new era and bring more benefits to both countries and the world."


[1], March 23, 2021.

[2], March 23, 2021.

[3] See MEMRI Inquiry and Analysis No. 1536, For China, Human Rights Cannot Be Universal, October 19, 2021.

[4], March 23, 2021.

[5] See MEMRI Inquiry and Analysis No. 1534, China, Russia, And The Creation Of A Multipolar World Order – A Russian Perspective, October 5, 2020.

[6], March 23, 2021.

[7], July 24, 2001.

[8], March 23, 2021.

[9], June 25, 2016.

[10], March 22, 2021.

[11], March 23, 2021.

[12], July 24, 2001.

[13], March 23, 2021.

[14], March 22, 2021.

[15], March 22, 2021.

[16], March 23, 2021.

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