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Top diplomats of Russia and China assail US ‘unilateralism’

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Moscow, Apr 5 (AP) The foreign ministers of Russia and China jointly denounced what they described today as the unilateralism of the United States, criticism that underlined their growing rapport on global issues.

Speaking in Moscow after talks with his Russian counterpart, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi strongly criticized Washington’s move to hike tariffs on Chinese products.

“If the U.S. thinks that it can get advantages through protectionism, its calculus is wrong,” Wang warned.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, when asked about Russia’s view of the US-Chinese trade conflict, said the US action reflects the Trump administration’s unilateralist approach to international concerns.

He cited as examples the US push to renegotiate a nuclear deal with Iran and the terms of an international climate agreement.

“It has nothing to do with diplomacy. It’s an attempt to enforce its own interests while completely ignoring the interests of others,” Lavrov said.

Russia’s recently reinvigorated support for China reflects its disappointment with Washington after the Kremlin hoped for improved relations under President Donald Trump.

Trump has approved higher duties on Chinese telecoms, aerospace and other technology goods, but left time to negotiate by announcing a comment period through May 11.

Chinese regulators made a USD 50 billion list of items on which the country could increase tariffs to retaliate, including soybeans and small aircraft.

Wang warned that Washington’s move would hurt the global economy and international trade, denouncing it as “typical unilateralism and an undisguised attempt at hegemony.”

“The international community must jointly oppose such unilateralism and violation of rules,” he said.

Wang’s trip to Russia follows a Moscow visit earlier this week by new Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe, who said it was a signal to the U.S. of increasingly close Russia-China military ties.

As part of their burgeoning military cooperation, Moscow and Beijing have conducted joint drills, including exercises in the South China Sea and joint navy maneuvers in the Baltics.

Moscow’s hopes for warmed Russia-U.S. ties under Trump have withered amid the investigations of alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia and myriad other disputes, most recently the poisoning of an ex-Russian spy in Britain.

“We in Russia stand for direct dialogue to solve any outstanding issues,” Lavrov said. “We never dodge negotiations. It’s our American partners who do.”

He pointed to the last-minute cancellation of a meeting of Russian and American cybersecurity experts and Washington’s refusal to hold a meeting on cultural issues.

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