Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Russia says west looking to ‘militarise’ southeast Asia

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says the West seeks to “militarise” southeast Asia in a bid to contain Russian and Chinese interests, setting the stage for a confrontation at the G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia.

Lavrov will head Russia’s delegation to the summit – the first such meeting since Moscow invaded Ukraine in February – after the Kremlin announced President Vladimir Putin was too busy to attend.

Speaking during a press conference at the conclusion of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit, he scolded the US over its actions in the region, which both Russia and the West see as a potential strategic geopolitical battleground in the coming decades.

“The United States and its NATO allies are trying to master this space,” he told reporters.

He claimed President Joe Biden’s Indo-Pacific strategy would involve “the militarisation of this region” with a focus on containing China and Russian interests.

The US president told southeast Asian leaders that Washington was committed to building an Indo-Pacific that was “free and open, stable and prosperous, and resilient and secure”.

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