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Concern over Russia-China rapport
Published on: Friday, June 17, 2022
By: AFP
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Concern over Russia-China rapport
The meeting between Putin and Xi (right) on Wednesday was their second reported call since the Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began on February 24.
WASHINGTON: The United States expressed concern Wednesday about China’s alignment with Russia, warning that nations which side with President Vladimir Putin on Ukraine will be “on the wrong side of history.”

“China claims to be neutral, but its behaviour makes clear that it is still investing in close ties to Russia,” a US State Department spokesperson said.

The statement came hours after President Xi Jinping assured Putin of Beijing’s support for Moscow’s “sovereignty and security” during a call between the two leaders on Wednesday.

China has refused to condemn Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine and has been accused of providing diplomatic cover for Russia by blasting Western sanctions and arms sales to Kyiv. The State Department spokesperson said Washington was “monitoring China’s activity closely.”

“But in other key respects, China has already made a choice,” the statement continued.

More than three months into the invasion, “China is still standing by Russia. It is still echoing Russian propaganda around the world. It is still shielding Russia in international organizations... And it is still denying Russia’s atrocities in Ukraine by suggesting instead that they were staged,” it said.

“Nations that side with Vladimir Putin will inevitably find themselves on the wrong side of history... This is not a moment for equivocation or hiding or waiting to see what happens next. It is already clear what is happening,” the statement concluded.

The conversation between Xi and Putin on Wednesday was their second reported call since the Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began on February 24.

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

In the eyes of Chinese officials, the Europeans have allowed themselves to be sucked into backing Ukraine, at Washington’s initiative, in a move contrary to their interests as Russian gas consumers.

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

The pair have drawn closer in the political, trade and military spheres as part of what they call a “no limits” relationship.

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

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

Beijing is Moscow’s largest trading partner, with trade volumes last year hitting $147 billion, according to Chinese customs data. 

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