The US State Department’s Spokesperson, Ned Price, threatened Chinese businesses with economic punishment if they decide to work with Russia through any hypothetical sanctions imposed by Joe Biden. He warned that the US has “an array of tools” that can be used again foreign companies “doing their best to backfill US export control actions.”
“If Russia thinks that it will be in a position […] to mitigate some of those consequences, by a closer relationship with [China], that is not the case. It will actually make the Russian economy, in many ways, more brittle,” Price warned.
Price claimed Russia cannot survive without the West and tight cooperation with it, though the statement looks more like an affirmation or autosuggestion to the US sanctions’ creators themselves.
“If you deny yourself the ability to transact with the West, to import with the West, from Europe, from the US, you are going to significantly degrade your productive capacity and your innovative potential,” he warned.
Putin Praises Russian-Chinese Ties as Unprecedented
Price’s statement did not look appropriate to the moment at all, as Russian-Chinese relations are known as firm and stable and are far from being influenced by this kind of claim. This was confirmed by the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, at a meeting with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, TASS reports. The Russian leader noted that the ties between Russia and China have become unprecedented and the states are fully supporting each other’s development.
“Speaking about our bilateral ties, they are steadily developing in the spirit of friendship and strategic partnership. They have become unprecedented, serving as an example of worthy relations that help [both countries] to develop and at the same time support each other in this development,” the Russian President stated.
According to Putin, although the leaders had no possibility to meet in person for two years, they were in constant contact, held talks via video linkup and over the phone.
“The crucial thing is that we supported the efforts of our teams in almost all areas,” Putin stressed.
China Accused West of Using Human Rights as Pretext for Imposing Sanctions
The Chinese authorities also expressed their readiness to work together with Russia to promote universal development, which was said not once including in the past few months. Moreover, at the end of the previous year, the Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman, Zhao Lijian, supported the statement of the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, about the unacceptability of the West’s desire to occupy a dominant position on the world stage.
“China intends, together with Russia, to promote the intensification of cooperation between all countries, to create new incentives for universal peaceful development […] I want to emphasize that the Sino-Russian comprehensive partnership relations in the new era are as solid as a rock,” the Spokesman said.
That time such statements came as Lavrov said previously that Western countries “do not want to have any rivals in the international arena that are more or less comparable in influence,” and this attitude explains their “hysteria towards the rise of China,” which accepted the rules of the game and “outplayed the West on its own field.”
Also, China expressed its strong opposition to new sanctions against senior Russian officials proposed by lawmakers in Washington. The Chinese Foreign Ministry’s spokeswoman, Hua Chunying, accused US lawmakers of using human rights as a “pretext” for imposing new anti-Russia measures that undermine recent negotiations between Moscow and Washington.
On September 27 of the previous year, Chunying stated that “China is strongly against Washington applying unilateral sanctions under the pretext of protecting human rights”. She said that the US itself quite often “violates the provisions of the UN Charter and acts contrary to generally accepted norms of international law”, adding that the sanctions are not only opposed by China and Russia but also “by a growing number of countries”.
Putin Arrived in Beijing for Olympics Opening
And today, Vladimir Putin has arrived in Beijing. His visit to the country started with a meeting with Xi Jinping, after which he will attend the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympic Games, Kommersant reports. It is worth reminding that today has happened Putin’s first visit to China after the pandemic has started. As stated by Sergey Lavrov, the negotiations of the heads of state should cover the entire spectrum of relations between the two countries.
“A wide range of issues of practical cooperation in trade, economic, energy, financial, investment, scientific, technical and humanitarian fields will be considered,” the Kremlin press service reported.
In addition, yesterday, on February 3, Lavrov met in Beijing with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi and the sides agreed on positions on Ukraine, Afghanistan, the Korean Peninsula, and BRICS.