China, Russia Cooperation at ‘Unprecedented High’

As China and Russia continue to deepen their ties and join together to thwart the United Nation’s Security Council’s resolution on Syria, Professor Asher Kaufman from the University of Notre Dame has claimed that only the two countries can stop the violence in Syria. From CNN:

Reports are unclear as to whether the culprits were Syrian military units or pro-government militias, the Shabeeha, as they are called in Syria. The United Nations has also been careful not to point a finger at any side. But the U.N. stand is a result of Russian and Chinese support for the Syrian government, which compelled the Security Council to draft a diluted statement acceptable for all members of the council. But the kind of weapons, the systematic mode of operation and countless testimonies all point to Bashar al- Assad’s regime, which is upping the ante in its war against the opposition forces and civilians suspected of being their supporters.

The civil war is asymmetric for another reason. First, although the Syrian government has been put under extreme international pressure, it still receives unconditional logistical support from Iran and Hezbollah. Its diplomatic support from Russia and China — some reports also indicate that Russia sends arm shipments to the Syrian army — provides assistance for al-Assad’s regime to carry on with its onslaught.

The opposition, on the other hand, does not have the same unconditional international backing. Although Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states have committed to support the opposition by arming its forces, their support is not yet a match to the kind of assistance provided by al-Assad’s allies.

The U.N. special envoy Kofi Annan, who is in Damascus, was also careful not to put the blame on any side, again reflecting the political dynamics in the United Nations between supporters and opponents of al-Assad. Annan believes that his six-point plan is still the only workable road map to stop the violence.

Although numerous western nations, such as US, France, and Britain, have expelled Syrian diplomats to put pressure on Syria, China has restated it’s opposition to military intervention in the region. AFP reports:

“China opposes military intervention in Syria and opposes regime change by force,” foreign ministry spokesman Liu Weimin told reporters in Beijing.

Liu added that China urged all parties to implement UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan’s ceasefire proposal in Syria and to seek to end the bloody crisis through negotiations.

With Russian and Chinese support, the UN Security Council on Sunday strongly condemned the Syrian government for using artillery in a massacre in the central town of Houla in which at least 108 people were killed.

But Russia, which along with China has vetoed two UN Security Council resolutions highly critical of President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, on Wednesday said it was “premature” for the council to consider new action.

Aside from their joint position on Syria, Chinese ambassador to Russia, Li Hui, has claimed that the two countries would enjoy ‘broader prospects.’ From Xinhua:

Further development of China-Russia relations is in the interests of the two peoples and of the times, Chinese Ambassador to Russia Li Hui said in two articles published ahead of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s upcoming visit to China.

The two giant neighbors would enjoy broader prospects in their relations, the ambassador said.

According to Li, Putin’s state visit to China on June 5-7 is of great significance to the development of China-Russia relations and of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in the next decade.

During the visit, Chinese and Russian leaders will exchange views on bilateral ties as well as global and regional issues of common concerns, Li said, adding the two sides are also expected to sign a joint communique and a number of agreements on cooperation.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has expressed similar sentiments by saying the two neighboring countries’ cooperation has reached an ‘unprecedented high’. China Daily Adds:

 Relations between Russia and China have reached unprecedented high levels,Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says in an interview ahead of President Vladimir Putin’supcoming visit to China.

“Russia and China have common core interests. They hold similar stances on the ongoingprofound changes in the world and similar approaches to new challenges,” Lavrov said.

“Russia and China support building a multi-polar world, establishing a more just and democraticglobal political and economic system, and enhancing the UN’s central role in coordinating andresolving hot international issues,” he said.

Russia-China cooperation on the international arena has “facilitated global peace and stability,”he said.

Read more on China’s relations with Russia, via CDT.

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