China adds a “flat”. Beijing explains the limit

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A month and a half ago, just before the start of the Beijing Winter Olympics, supreme leaders Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin announced a “boundless” friendship between China and Russia. A few weeks and a war later, China’s ambassador to the United States made an important addition for the first time: there are some limitations, however.

“Cooperation between China and Russia is not a taboo area, but there is a (red) line. That line is given by the principles of the Charter of the United Nations, the recognized basic rules of international law and international relations. This is the direction we are taking in bilateral relations between China and any other country, “Ambassador Qin Gang was quoted as saying by Chinese TV station Phoenix TV on Wednesday, quoted by Bloomberg.

Qin made the remarks in response to a question about Beijing’s commitment to Moscow following the invasion of Ukraine just a month ago.

These are the first statements by a Chinese official that clarifies and explains the joint statement of the two presidents, Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin, announcing the “boundless friendship” between the two countries, a cause for increased concern among US and European allies a new era of economic and possibly military cooperation between China and Russia.

Since the Russian military’s invasion of Ukraine, China has sought to present itself as neutral. put Putin at the United Nations through his veto power in the Security Council, and blames the United States for provoking Russia into war by enlarging NATO.

Xi was under increasing pressure to distance himself from Putin, the latest such attempt on Friday, when President Joe Biden warned him in a conversation not to provide military assistance and not help Moscow avoid Western sanctions. Jake Sullivan, the US national security adviser, said on Wednesday that Washington administration officials “have no indication that the Chinese government has advanced its arms supply to Russia, but we are conducting assessments every day.”

Several opinion leaders in Beijing’s political research and thought circles have recently taken various positions, suggesting that China should recalibrate its relationship with Moscow.

In a now-censored comment, Hu Wei, one of the vice presidents of the State Council’s Public Research Center, said in early March that a break with Russia would be needed “as soon as possible.” The article was blocked in China after it was taken over by the Carter Center’s US-China Perception Monitor think tank, an organization founded by former US President Jimmy Carter.

Xiao Bin, a researcher at the State Academy of Social Sciences in China, noted last week that the China-Russia strategic partnership “was developed in a non-war situation,” saying that the subsequent invasion of Ukraine changed that dynamic. .

“Therefore, China-Russia relations must have limits, set by the interests of the Chinese people. In other words, relations should be restricted to those areas of cooperation that do not harm those interests, “said Xiao, an article written by Xiao and published by the China-United States Exchange Foundation. This article is still available to internet users in China.

On the other hand, other political commentators in Beijing have supported closer ties between the two countries.

Hu Xijin, the former editor-in-chief of the Chinese Communist Party’s official Global Times, called Russia “China’s most important partner” in a recent post on the Weibo social network.

“If the United States succeeds in stifling China-Russia relations, then Russia could wake up in checkmate. Likewise, keeping this scenario in a possible future China vs. The United States and China would lose the game, “he said, calling for a” borderless “friendly relationship between the two states.