Russia’s South China Sea Conundrum

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On April 29, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov held a joint press conference in Beijing during which they strongly opposed the deployment of a THAAD anti-missile defense system in South Korea by the United States as well as outside interference by non-claimants in the South China Sea (SCS) territorial dispute. The Russian foreign minister commented on security developments in the Korean Peninsula, while deferring to his Chinese counterpart on the SCS. Lavrov spoke of a “unified position” on North Korea; however, there is no unified position on the SCS.
Lavrov’s comments in Beijing were constrained and offered little insights into Russia’s position toward the SCS. More illustrative were previous statements in Ulan-Bator on April 14, where Lavrov asserted the Kremlin’s opposition to “interference from third parties” and “attempts to internationalize” the dispute while insisting that “only parties to the conflict can resolve the dispute through direct talks.” However, Lavrov also stipulated that Russia was “not a party to the conflict” and “won’t interfere” in negotiations—indicating a cautious and hands-off approach should the dispute continue to escalate.

http://inhomelandsecurity.com/russias-south-china-sea-conundrum/

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