China pledges support for Russia and angers US

President Xi Jinping on Wednesday assured Vladimir Putin of China’s support for Russia’s ‘sovereignty and security’, leading Washington to warn Beijing that it risks finding itself ‘on the wrong side of the border’. story”.

China has refused to condemn Moscow’s massive military assault on Ukraine and has been accused of providing diplomatic cover for Russia by blowing up Western sanctions and arms sales to Kyiv.

China is “willing to continue offering mutual support (to Russia) on issues concerning core interests and major concerns such as sovereignty and security”, state broadcaster CCTV reported in a call. with President Putin.

It was the second reported call between the two leaders since Putin launched his invasion of Ukraine on February 24.

According to CCTV, Xi hailed the “good development momentum” of bilateral ties since the start of the year “in the face of global turmoil and changes.”

Beijing was willing to “intensify strategic coordination between the two countries”, Xi reportedly said.

The Kremlin said the two leaders agreed to step up economic cooperation in the face of “illegal” Western sanctions.

“It was agreed to expand cooperation in the energy, financial, industrial, transport and other fields, taking into account the situation of the world economy which has become complicated due to the illegal sanctions policy of the ‘West,’ the Kremlin said following the phone call.

But the United States quickly weighed in with a chilling rebuttal to Beijing’s expressed alignment with Moscow.

“China claims to be neutral, but its behavior clearly shows that it still invests in close ties with Russia,” a State Department spokesperson said.

Washington was “watching China’s activity closely,” including how, nearly four months into Russia’s war in Ukraine, the Asian giant was “still echoing Russian propaganda around the world” and suggesting that Moscow’s atrocities in Ukraine were “staged”, the official said.

“Nations that side with Vladimir Putin will inevitably find themselves on the wrong side of history.”

Relationship “without limits”

The West has passed unprecedented sanctions against Russia in retaliation for its invasion of Ukraine, and Moscow sees Europe and the United States as causing a global economic slowdown.

Moscow is also looking for new markets and suppliers to replace large foreign companies that left Russia after the invasion.

The European Union and the United States have warned that any support from Beijing for Russia’s war, or any help to Moscow to dodge Western sanctions, will damage relations.

China and India are two major economies that have not taken part in the retaliatory measures against Moscow.

In the eyes of Chinese officials, the Europeans have allowed themselves to be led into supporting Ukraine, at the initiative of Washington, in an approach contrary to their interests as Russian gas consumers.

Once bitter Cold War foes, Beijing and Moscow have stepped up cooperation in recent years to counterbalance what they see as US global dominance.

The couple have grown closer in politics, business and the military in what they call a “no limits” relationship.

Last week, they unveiled the first road bridge connecting the two countries, linking the far eastern city of Blagoveshchensk to the northern Chinese city of Heihe.

The leaders’ call on Wednesday fell on Xi’s 69th birthday and was their first reported communication since the day after Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine.

Beijing is Moscow’s biggest trading partner, with trade volumes reaching $147 billion last year, according to China Customs data.

Russia news

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