Lavrov raps U.S.’ Indo-Pacific strategy, ‘bloc’ building, ahead of Seoul visit

SEOUL/MOSCOW-- Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has expressed concern that the U.S. strategy for the Indo-Pacific region could be an attempt to create a bloc against specific countries.

Lavrov made the remarks during a virtual meeting with Korean correspondents in Moscow last week ahead of his trip to Beijing and Seoul. He is set to arrive in Seoul on Tuesday to hold talks with Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong and attend other events.

He claimed that the Indo-Pacific region expression was introduced as part of an attempt to realign the region with a goal to build a bloc against particular countries.

Lavrov was apparently referring to the push by the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden to "reinvigorate and modernize" regional democratic alliances, as well as its move to cement the evolving Quad forum involving its key partners -- Australia, India and Japan.

While cautioning against Washington's regional vision, Lavrov stressed the centrality of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the importance of existing forums, like the ASEAN Regional Forum for regional cooperation.

The minister cast South Korea as a crucial, promising partner -- remarks that appear to reflect Moscow's hope that Seoul won't join a coalition that Washington is seeking to forge to uphold what it calls the "free, open" and "rules-based" order in the region.

Touching on the agenda for his talks with Chung slated for Thursday, Lavrov said it would include the Korean Peninsula situation and regional and international issues.

He said that Russia is making all efforts for stable management of the situation on the peninsula and for the resolution of the issue of the peninsula's denuclearization.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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