China and Russia have a cozy chat to deal with the US

Wang and Lavrov to cement even stronger Sino-Russian ties to combat Washington and its allies

Foreign Minister Wang Yi has repeatedly warned the United States to stop “ganging up” on China amid the backdrop of a looming New Cold War.

The high-ranking diplomat was part of the Chinese team involved in a bruising opening session at last week’s talks with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan in Alaska.

Yet the Chinese outbursts in Anchorage should not have come as a surprise. In the past 12 months, Wang has been at the forefront of condemning Washington’s policy towards Beijing. 

“Tolerating a bully will not keep you safe. It will only let the bully get bolder and act worse,” he said back in 2020, referring to Sino-American relations.

Since then, China has hardened its US posturing and strengthened its ties with Russia ahead of Wang’s discussions this week with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

“The US wants a New Cold War to crack down on its competitors China and Russia, and its diplomatic policy with other major powers always focuses on confrontation,” Li Haidong, a professor at the Institute of International Relations at China’s Foreign Affairs University, told state-run Global Times.

The issues:

  • Beijing keeps pushing the narrative that President Joe Biden’s White House is “arrogant and overbearing.”
  • It blames this on the decline of US power abroad and economic stagnation at home.
  • Washington will argue that is just a smoke screen to deflect global criticism of China’s authoritarian policies.
  • They include repressive programs in Xinjiang and the pro-democracy clampdown in Hong Kong.
  • Other areas of concern for the US and its allies is the constant bullying of Taiwan and China’s naval buildup in the South China Sea.

Core complaints: State-owned China Daily is normally circumspect when talking about US relations. But the “Wolf Warrior” fever appears to have infected the newspaper. “Trust US officials to turn what was supposed to be a diplomatic meeting with their Chinese counterparts into an event to spew vitriol at China,” it said in an editorial.

Delve deeper: China sees Russia as the ideal partner to confront the US and its allies with Beijing in the starring role. After all, it has the economic muscle to call the shots. 

Dollar dilemma: “We need to reduce sanctions risks by bolstering our technological independence, by switching to payments in our national currencies and global currencies that serve as an alternative to the dollar,” Lavrov said, according to a transcript of his interview released on Monday, as reported by the Reuters news agency.

China Factor comment: Sino-American tensions continue to rise. The global map is splitting into two spheres of influence, radiating from Beijing and Washington. Later this week, US Secretary of State Blinken will attend a NATO, or the North Atlantic Treat Organisation, meeting of foreign ministers in Brussels. China and Russia will be high on the agenda. Expect some tough language.