The United States’ and the European Union’s desire to increase pressure with sanctions and hostile rhetoric on Russia and China has resulted in the tightest possible partnership between Moscow and Beijing, which are already united by years of extensive ties in various areas. Bilateral trade exceeded $132 billion from January to November, increased by 24 percent over the previous year. The prospects for bilateral economic cooperation are also encouraging. Therefore, many in the West see current relations between Beijing and Moscow as forming an alliance, and Washington is not satisfied with such a arrangement.
Hence, it is not surprising that the December 15 video talks between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping received worldwide attention. The conversation between the heads of the friendly states lasted about an hour and a half. As Xi Jinping noted, this was the 37th meeting between the two leaders since 2013. Russian President Vladimir Putin called relations between Moscow and Beijing a model of interstate cooperation in the twenty-first century, which is especially important today for maintaining stability in the world. The two leaders discussed a wide range of issues, and both expressed satisfaction with the current development of Sino-Russian relations.
The Russian and Chinese leaders discussed the “aggressive rhetoric” used by the USA and NATO, including the response to US President Joe Biden’s attempt to create a so-called “alliance of democracies.” How the parties will counter pressure from the USA and the collective West is still difficult to judge, as this topic was most likely a closed part of the conversation. The significant complementarity of the two countries should be borne in mind: China is a mighty economic power, and Russia shows serious breakthroughs in the military sphere. Therefore, increasing the level of cooperation between them will help contain the pressure on both countries by forming an anti-Western united front. Such a front has not yet turned into a military bloc, but the geopolitical partnership between Russia and China is becoming ever closer. The Chinese leader expressed his readiness to work together with President Putin on new bilateral cooperation projects in all areas based on Russia and China’s achievements this year.
“Washington is making the historic mistake of pushing China and Russia too far at the same time,” the Global Times stresses. “It has overindulged the expansion of egocentrism, and fabricated lies that China and Russia have “broken international rules” and “challenged the international order.” It has created strong faith in these lies in the West, forcing itself to engage in dangerous confrontations with China and Russia.” Threatening and pressuring a major power is knowingly a bad way to go. It is especially unwise to do so simultaneously against two great powers. Washington should learn to respect the core interests of other major countries. A world superpower should not be obsessed with power alone and think it can do anything. The publication notes that this is a crucial message that the United States must comprehend, affecting world peace.
The New York Times stresses the talks came at a time of heightened international tension, with Western politicians baselessly accusing Putin of allegedly preparing an invasion of Ukraine and Putin demanding security guarantees from NATO. Xi is forced to respond to the diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Olympics announced by the USA and several of its allies and American sanctions for persecuting Uighur Muslims in China’s Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region.
As The Atlantic points out, today, the unipolarity of the world has become history. The USA no longer commands its rivals or its allies. China and Russia “do not need to present a united strategic front to threaten American interests. They may well be able to achieve this by acting simultaneously on different fronts,” American media point out.
If Russia is concerned about NATO’s eastward expansion, China is alarmed by American encroachment into the Asia-Pacific region. Therefore, the criticism expressed by the leaders of the two countries of the creation of new military pacts, such as the recently formed military alliance AUKUS, is not surprising. Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping have agreed to rebuff Western intrusion into their countries’ internal affairs and boost efforts to defend their nations’ security interests, strengthening cooperation between Moscow and Beijing as both face pressure from the US and Europe, The Wall Street Journal noted. At the same time, Putin noted that Russia and China had developed a model of cooperation based in part on “the principles of noninterference in each other’s affairs and a mutual resolve to turn our common border into a belt of eternal peace and good-neighborliness,” as reported by the Kremlin. As the experts interviewed by the publication noted, the meeting was an opportunity for the two countries to demonstrate the deepening of bilateral relations and present them as a counterweight to President Biden’s policies. China and Russia are an ideal alliance in terms of economic structures: Russia has abundant natural resources – oil, gas, metals, fertilizers, food. But it needs capital and foreign technology. The opposite is true in China, as it needs natural resources to fuel growth, and there is a capital surplus.
Commenting on the talks between the Russian and Chinese leaders, the Swiss TV channel SRF emphasizes that Russia and China have long called themselves strategic partners, and their cooperation has never been more appropriate than now. Moscow and Beijing stand side by side, united against a common enemy, a role the United States is just too willing to play. No wonder both countries have decided to support and strengthen each other’s positions against this backdrop; both countries have strengthened their partnership in the military sphere, for example, by joint exercises.
Discussing the talks between Putin and Xi Jinping, many media outlets highlighted that China and Russia have made peaceful development a priority in their national strategies and seek to avoid conflict. It is time for the West to step back and see the big picture.
Vladimir Danilov, political observer, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.