AFPPutin and Xi, here in an archive photo.
On the day that Russian President Vladimir Putin blames the West for the war in Ukraine and suspends a nuclear treaty with the United States, the Chinese Foreign Ministry launches a brutal attack on the United States.
In a document prepared by the ministry, the US is frankly called unreliable and reckless. There is criticism, among other things, of the abuse of military power by the United States and the destabilization of the financial order. “The fact that this is now being published at a time of high tension is really significant,” says political scientist and China expert Jonathan Holslag of the Free University in Brussels.
“This document is unprecedented. The Chinese accuse the US of hegemony, interference and military abuse of power.” With that high voltage, Holslag refers to the war in Ukraine. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said earlier this week that there are indications that China would supply arms to Russia and thus clearly take sides.
What strikes Holslag especially about the Chinese attack is that there is not one point that stands out. “It’s just a whole list of accusations. They accuse the US of absolute recklessness.” He speaks of a “foot-forward diplomatic attack” in a way he hasn’t seen in a long time.
China also published a document on security and, like Russian President Putin earlier today in his State of the Union address, presents itself as an attractive partner and alternative to the US. According to Holslag, the Chinese want to show that they are a much more reliable partner than the US.
A message that the Russian leader also sounded. “Putin tried to say in his speech that Russia is a good partner, a reasonable and benevolent country. He mentioned that Russia immediately came to the rescue in the event of the earthquakes in Russia and Syria,” says Niels Drost, Russia expert at the Clingendael Institute.
Holslag thinks that China is really looking for a new world order. It will be difficult for the European countries to set a course now, thinks Holslag. “If this means that the Chinese assume that the Cold War has started, then that is very worrying. It will then be difficult for Europe to trade and hold talks, for example.”
Russia and China
According to the Wall Street Journal, Chinese President Xi Jinping will soon visit Moscow. It could indicate that the two countries will continue to strengthen ties. Russia and China desperately need each other, says Holslag. “Despite occasional resentment, Beijing sees Russia as an indispensable partner.”
Supplying weapons to Russia will be a step too far, thinks Holslag. “That means they will forfeit what little credit they have left in Europe and then Europe will side with the US.”
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