A top US diplomat doubts whether the deepening of relations between Beijing and Moscow is based on “conviction”.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has denounced the strengthening ties between China and Russia as a “marriage of convenience”.
Blinken made the comments Wednesday after Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin were filmed saying their goodbyes at the end of two days of closely monitored meetings in Moscow.
“Partly because they have a very different worldview than we do, they have a marriage of convenience,” Blinken told the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “I’m not sure if it’s a conviction.”
Blinken said Russia is “very much the junior partner” in the relationship and noted that China had so far refused to supply Moscow with arms for its war in Ukraine.
“At this point, we haven’t seen them cross that line,” Blinken said.
Blinken said that while China hoped to replace the US-led international order with its own “illiberal” vision, Russia seemed to have no coherent ideology beyond “world disorder”.
Video of Xi’s departure from Russia on Wednesday showed Chinese leader Putin saying there are changes “that we haven’t seen in 100 years” and that the two men are “driving these changes together.”
Xi also told Putin, “Be careful, dear friend,” to which the Russian leader replied, “Have a safe journey.”
The talks were the latest example of deepening ties between Beijing and Moscow, which share a mutual distrust of the West, since the announcement of a “no borders” partnership last February.
While in Moscow, Xi reiterated a 12-point peace plan to end the war in Ukraine, which Putin applauded, saying it “correlates with the Kremlin’s position”.
The US has reacted to the plan with skepticism, warning that the proposals would allow Moscow to solidify its territorial gains in the country.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has said he remains open to China’s proposals, but that an agreement is conditional on the full withdrawal of Russian troops from occupied Ukrainian territory.