Russia, China defending ASEAN role in region: Lavrov
On the sidelines of the East Asia Summit that took place in Cambodia's capital of Phnom Penh, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says Western countries paid "lip service" to ASEAN's role while pushing their own agenda.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said, on Sunday, that Moscow and Beijing are working together to promote the Association of Southeast Asian Nations' (ASEAN) summit.
Lavrov made the remarks on the sidelines of the East Asia Summit that took place in Cambodia's capital of Phnom Penh.
"Together with them [Chinese partners] we defend the expediency and the need to preserve the formats that have been created around ASEAN, we defend the need to respect and in the future the central role that ASEAN plays...in this region and in the surrounding region. But the West has its own plans," Lavrov told journalists.
Elsewhere in his remarks, the minister stated that Western countries paid "lip service" to ASEAN's role while pushing their own agenda and promoting confrontational mechanisms and instruments.
Lavrov also noted that the West has been advocating regional structures that are not available to all participants and include the military of the region, with the evident goal of restricting China and Russian interests in the Asia-Pacific.
Both Moscow and Beijing recognize this and are working to avert it, according to the top Russian figure.
It is worth noting that ASEAN is a political and economic union that was established in 1967 to foster economic, political, military, and cultural cooperation among Southeast Asian countries.
Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam are among its ten members. Since 1996, China has been an ASEAN full dialogue partner.
ASEAN states have been frustrated by the US' failure to detail plans for economic engagement since Trump's withdrawal from a regional trade pact in 2017.