David RennieRussia and China vow to defy US dominance
Wednesday 19 July 2000
The Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart Jiang Zemin yesterday denounced American plans for ballistic missile defence systems.
They vowed to forge a close strategic alliance to curb Washington's dominance of world affairs. The two leaders signed a strongly worded joint statement accusing America of planning to use the proposed National Missile Defence system "to seek unilateral military and security advantages".
This would pose "the most grave adverse consequences not only to the national security of Russia, China and other countries, but also to the security and international strategic stability of the United States".
The statement also described as "unacceptable" the incorporation of Taiwan into any lower-level US missile defence systems deployed in the Asia-Pacific region. This was a reference to "Theatre Missile Defence", a ship-based missile shield being researched by Japan and America.
Beijing is convinced that it is intended to neutralise Chinese missiles aimed at Taiwan, the democratic, capitalist island which China is determined to unite with the mainland.
Although the Chinese-Russian statement was loaded with hostile rhetoric, Western analysts argued yesterday that it marked a cosmetic unity obscuring major differences that still remain between the two former Cold War foes. Mr Putin also joined Mr Jiang in issuing a "Beijing Declaration", in which the two countries pledged to oppose those who sought to interfere in the "internal affairs" of other countries.
Both nations have faced international criticism for their brutal suppression of "separatism", whether in Chechnya or the western Chinese regions of Xinjiang and Tibet. They >share a horror of Western attempts to elevate human rights above sovereignty.
Yesterday's statement expressed mutual understanding and support for the two countries' respective campaigns to "safeguard national unification". The declaration also pledged to defend the "leading role" of the UN Security Council, of which China and Russia are permanent members.
partners", Mr Jiang, a Russian speaker who trained at the Stalin Automobile Works, leads a nation with fundamentally different views of the West.
Jean-Pierre Cabestan, director of the French Centre for Research on Contemporary China, said: "Russia's interests are not China's interests. China's ambition is to weaken the influence of the United States everywhere. Russia's ambition is to grow closer to the West and become part of the civilised world."
Russia has less patience with anti-Western "pariah states" than China, chiding North Korea over its missile programme and putting pressure on Serbia to settle with Nato at the end of the Kosovo conflict. China, in contrast, hailed Slobodan Milosevic as a heroic blood brother.
Mr Putin is due to fly to North Korea today for the first visit to the isolated Stalinist nation by any head of state from the Kremlin, whether Soviet or Russian.