By Chris Devonshire-Ellis
Foreign ministers meet, with discussions on Afghanistan, Asia, pushing back against Western hegemony, and creating a new World Order.
Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has flown to China to engage in mutual discussions with China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi. Lavrov arrived in Huangshan (close to Shanghai) earlier today (Wednesday, March 30, 2022) for a series of meetings about the future of Afghanistan and the geopolitical impact of the Ukraine conflict.
The meetings have huge geopolitical significance and are part of a process that will re-mold global geopolitics.
The meetings took place as a precursor to tomorrow’s (March 31) meetings in Tunxi City (Anhui) of the third ministerial conference of Afghanistan’s neighboring countries. That will be attended by Ministers from Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Pakistan, and China.
Concerning Afghanistan, both Russia and China held meetings with the Taliban in Kabul last week – Wang Yi flying in to meet the Acting Foreign Minister and a Russian delegation holding similar, separate discussions. Russia’s concerns are primarily security-focused, while China’s are both security and infrastructure-focused. Wang stated after his Taliban meeting that China would be prepared to extend the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) into Afghanistan. Several important regional initiatives transit Afghanistan, including the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline, which is partially online. Getting energy into Pakistan is key for its industrial development. Russia is also involved in this by agreeing to build the ‘PID Initiative‘ a Russian-built pipeline that also supports CPEC.
The Afghanistan meetings will need to determine the security issue within the Taliban leadership, which is thought to involve factional infighting. Holding at least some semblance of Government together is vital if the region is not to break out into civil war again. They will also, if it is felt some stability has emerged, look at securing Afghanistan and commencing the reconstruction of the country.
China appears to be in no mood for games. Foreign Minister Wang Yi, at a separate bilateral meeting today with Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi in Tunxi, stated that “We can’t allow the Cold War mentality to return to the Asian region. It’s impossible to allow a repeat of camp confrontation in Asia. We mustn’t allow turning medium and small states in the region into an instrument or even a victim of the games of big powers,” he said. “The Chinese side intends to move in the same direction along with Pakistan and neighboring countries, play a constructive role in ensuring regional and global peace, and make its contribution to Asia.”
New World Order
The two sides also made very specific comments about a ‘new world order’, hinting that the Ukraine conflict and the sanctioning of Russia is going to have farther-reaching consequences than previously thought.
Lavrov made comments that Russia and China were standing together and said ahead of his discussions with Wang that “the world is living through a very serious stage in the history of international relations. We, together with you, (China) and with our sympathizers will move towards a multipolar, just, democratic world order.”
There appears to be alignment. China’s foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin later told reporters that Moscow and Beijing will continue efforts to “advance global multipolarity and the democratization of international relations.”
He also continued with Xi Jinping’s line that “China-Russia cooperation has no limits,” and that “Our striving for peace has no limits, our upholding of security has no limits, our opposition towards hegemony has no limits.” These are direct references to an apparent mutual belief that the West, and especially the United States, is intent on retaining the existing global order and placing itself as the de facto ruling body of that. Certainly, there has been alarm – a point worth bearing out – that sanctions placed on Russian individuals and businesses have not gone through any due process, a position that undermines the legal conceptual structure of democracy and appears to have been accepted as standard. Moscow has stated such actions, arbitrarily executed without recourse to any legal process, are in fact a simple form of theft. They have a point.
The stresses caused by the US exit from Afghanistan can be seen as the spark that perhaps lit the fuse of conflict in Ukraine and has pushed Russia into Asia. What results from the latest flurry of China-Russian and Asia diplomacy can be expected to permanently change regional and possibly global geopolitics. For more on this developing geopolitical struggle, the new issue of Asia Investment Research (AIR) magazine is out now, is titled ‘Russia’s Pivot To Asia: How Russia & China Anticipated The Development Of A New Cold War‘ and is available here. Proceeds go to Ukrainian children’s charities.
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