United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken has dismissed deepening ties between China and Russia as a “marriage of convenience”.
Blinken made the comments on Wednesday after Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin were filmed saying warm goodbyes at the end of two days of closely-watched meetings in Moscow.
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“In part as a result of having this 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 conviction.”
Blinken said Russia is “very much the junior partner” in the relationship and noted that China had so far declined to provide weapons to Moscow for its war in Ukraine.
“As we speak today, we have not seen them cross that line,” Blinken said.
Blinken said that although China hoped to replace the US-led international order with its own “illiberal” vision, Russia did not appear to have a coherent ideology apart from “world disorder”.
In a video of Xi’s departure from Russia on Wednesday, the Chinese leader was seen telling Putin that there are changes the “likes of which we haven’t seen for 100 years” and that the two men are “driving these changes together”.
Xi also told Putin, “Take care please, dear friend,” to which the Russian leader replied, “Have a safe trip.”
The talks were the latest example of deepening ties between Beijing and Moscow, who share a mutual suspicion of the West, since the announcement of a “no limits” partnership in February last year.
While in Moscow, Xi reiterated a 12-point peace plan to end the war in Ukraine, which Putin welcomed, saying it “correlates to the point of view” of the Kremlin.
The US has reacted to the plan with scepticism, warning the proposals would allow Moscow to solidify its territorial gains in the country.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said he remains open to China’s proposals but any deal would depend on the full withdrawal of Russian forces from occupied Ukrainian territory.