On Friday in Beijing, Sergey Lavrov and Wang Yi, the Russian and Chinese foreign ministers, presented a united stand against the US on a host of issues in their joint press conference.
Among the topics were Beijing’s territorial claims. “We are of the same view with Minister Lavrov that the disputes around the South China Sea should be settled peacefully through negotiations among the directly involved countries,” declared Wang. “We discussed the situation in the South China Sea,” Lavrov noted. “The Russian stance is invariable—these problems should not be internationalized—none of the external players should try to interfere in their settlement efforts.”
The irony, of course, is that Russia, a non-claimant, was involving itself by telling others not to involve themselves.
The US and Russia are not the only non-South China Sea states believing they have an interest in that contested body of water. India and, more recently, Japan have also made their presence felt, sending ships through what they consider to be a part of the global commons.