Two years ago, China and Russia issued a joint declaration with the aim of throwing out an open challenge to the current US-led world order.
Coming after Moscow’s annexation of Crimea and a court ruling against Beijing’s claim to the South China Sea, the two governments announced bluntly in June 2016 that they would enhance cooperation to establish a “just and equitable international order,” in effect saying they no longer trusted the rules-based system largely drawn up after the Second World War. Since then debate has picked up about the threat posed to Western values by authoritarianism, often accompanied by a specter of confrontation, such as the recent condemnation of China by US Defense Secretary James Mattis for “intimidation and coercion” in building military bases in the South China Sea and overflight of US B-52s over Chinese-claimed Spratly Islands. […]
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