President Xi Jinping assured Vladimir Putin on Wednesday of China’s support for Russia’s “sovereignty and security” — leading Washington to warn Beijing that it risks falling “on the wrong side of history”.
China has refused to condemn Moscow’s massive military attack on Ukraine and has been accused of providing Russia with diplomatic cover, slamming Western sanctions and arms sales to Kyiv.
“China is willing to continue to provide mutual support (to Russia) on issues concerning core interests and major concerns such as sovereignty and security,” Xi said in a phone call with President Putin, state broadcaster CCTV reported.
It was reportedly the second call between the two leaders since Putin launched his invasion of Ukraine on February 24.
According to CCTV, Xi praised the “good momentum” of bilateral relations since the beginning of the year “in the face of global turmoil and changes”.
According to reports, Xi said Beijing was willing to “strengthen the strategic coordination between the two countries.”
Two leaders agree to boost economic cooperation in the face of ‘illegal’ Western sanctions, Kremlin says.
“Considering that the global economic situation has become more complicated due to the illegal sanctions policy of the West, we agreed to expand cooperation in energy, finance, industry, transportation and other fields,” the Kremlin said after the call.
But the U.S. was swift in a lukewarm rebuttal to Beijing’s assertion that it was aligned with Moscow.
“China claims to be neutral, but its actions clearly show that it is still investing in a close relationship with Russia,” a State Department spokesman said.
The official said Washington was “closely watching China’s activities,” including how the Asian giant “still echoes Russian propaganda around the world, nearly four months after Russia’s war in Ukraine,” and suggested Moscow’s atrocities in Ukraine were “staged”.
“Countries on Vladimir-Putin’s side will inevitably find themselves on the wrong side of history.”