Russia offered support for China’s opposition to U.S. actions in two of Asia’s biggest security flash points amid mounting tensions on the Korean Peninsula and in the South China Sea.
Foreign ministers from China and Russia expressed “grave concern” about the possible U.S. deployment of the Thaad anti-missile system in South Korea to defend against the growing North Korean nuclear threat. Russia also backed China’s stance that non-claimants like the U.S. shouldn’t “interfere” in territorial disputes in the South China Sea.
Speaking at a joint press conference with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in Beijing on Friday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the two sides had a “unified position” on North Korea. He warned against any attempts to use the nuclear threat “as a justification for building up military potential on the Korean Peninsula.”
The U.S.’s missile shield plan and its naval challenges to China’s claims to more than 80 percent of the South China Sea have fueled tensions among the dominant powers in Asia. China fears that the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system could be used against its own weaponry. It has also been lobbying for international support for its position on the South China Sea as it braces for a ruling by an international arbitration panel on a challenge to its claims by the Philippines.