President Xi Jinping appears to be in goose step with his “best friend” Vladimir Putin.
Twenty-four hours after Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine, Xi has yet to publicly say a single word about Moscow’s decision to unleash an all-out attack on a “sovereign nation.”
The deafening silence has not gone unnoticed in Washington.
Ned Price, a spokesman at the US State Department, pointed out that China has constantly repeated that the principle of sovereignty was inviolable and sacrosanct.
“So, you’ll have to ask the PRC [People’s Republic of China], how they marry that long-standing position with anything less than an effort to use the considerable influence and sway they have with the Russian Federation to urge [President] Vladimir Putin to back down and to de-escalate,” he said.
Amid the bloodshed in Ukraine, Xi’s orchestrated state-run media have even blamed the United States for the conflict by daring to “expand NATO to the doorstep of Russia.”
- The end of the Cold War ushered in a new era of democracy in Eastern Europe after years of Communist Party repression.
- As the Soviet Union disintegrated, former satellite states such as Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Hungary and Romania became democracies and rushed to join the European Union and NATO.
- The rise of President Putin and his imperialistic foreign policy triggered another stampede.
- But sovereign nations mean nothing to the former KGB intelligence officer.
- Under the guise of “national security,” he has vowed to rebuild Russia’s old sphere of influence during the Soviet era and carve out a new Eastern Bloc.
Stark reality: “We think that Russia and the PRC also want a world order. But this is an order that is and would be profoundly illiberal, an order that stands in contrast to the system that countries around the world … have built in the last seven decades,” US State Department spokesman Price told a media briefing.
Big picture: In 2019 during a visit to Moscow, Xi described Putin as his “best friend.” Earlier this month, they met in Beijing before the Winter Olympics and discussed their vision of the future.
Tête-à-tête: “[Both] sides have practiced true multilateralism, upheld true democratic spirit, and played a pivotal role in uniting the international society to tide over the current difficulties and safeguard international equity and justice,” Xi said as reported by the official Communist Party website, Xinhua.
Autocracy versus democracy: “The United States must be prepared to cut off all avenues for Russia to escape Western sanctions,” Aaron Arnold, of the Royal United Services Institute’s Centre for Financial Crime and Security Studies, wrote in an essay for Foreign Policy.
How would this work? “This includes preparing to wield secondary sanctions against Chinese institutions as well as working to limit blowback to US interests,” Arnold said.
Wield a big stick: “The simple truth is that the US dollar accounts for nearly 60% of global foreign currency reserves – and the Chinese renminbi does not. That is a big stick to wield.”
China Factor comment: Beijing should not be allowed to circumnavigate sanctions imposed on Russia by the US, the European Union and its allies. Xi and his “best friend” Putin must be held to account for fanning the flames of war in Europe.