White House rejects suggestion Xi and Putin are ‘teaming up’ against Biden – and claims Russia is a ‘junior partner’ in the relationship with China and a ceasefire would be a victory from the Kremlin
- China’s Xi Jinping met with Vladimir Putin in Moscow
- Administration has warned Beijing not to supply Moscow with arms
- Kirby said relations aren’t something the powers ‘just cooked up’
The White House on Monday said President Joe Biden is not at fault for China’s President Xi Jinping’s continued embrace of Russian President Vladimir Putin despite Russia’s brutal war in Ukraine.
White House security spokesman John Kirby was asked about the two powers ‘teaming up’, as Russian President Vladimir Putin hosted Xi for a series of meetings during a critical time in the war.
‘Russia and China, it seems like these two superpowers are teaming up now against the U.S., Fox News correspondent Peter Doocy asked him. ‘Why did President Biden let this happen?’
Kirby responded that the two nations had ‘long chaffed at U.S. leadership,’ adding, ‘This is not something that these two countries just cooked up since President Biden got elected.
Putin met with Xi on the sidelines of the Winter Olympics in Beijing days before Russia launched its invasion last year. Now, the administration has warned China not to provide lethal weapons to Russia as its war carries beyond a year.
The White House was asked Monday about Russia and China ‘teaming up’
The two leaders met for four hours, as U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned China’s peace plan could be a ‘stalling tactic’ and said the world should not be fooled by any tactical move by Russia.’
Kirby was asked about the leaders not seeming to care about pressure Biden has applied, amid numerous nations condemning Russia and imposing stiff sanctions.
‘I think if you ask a lot of Russians they certainly care,” Kirby retorted. ‘Their economy is barely being propped up by some pretty radical measures by Mr. Putin. Their military has been roundly embarrassed inside Ukraine and they continue to lose ground there,’ he said.
Kirby also was asked about the power balance between China and Russia. Both are nuclear powers, but China’s influence is growing, and its economy is substantially larger.
‘I would say there’s in that particular bilateral relationship, they certainly have the junior role,’ Kirby said.
National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications John Kirby again called Russia the ‘junior partner’ in relations with China, whose economy is far larger
China has refused to condemn Russia’s brutal war on Ukraine
He also spoke about China’s 12-point ‘peace plan,’ which he warned should not be grounds for Russia to try to lock in territory seized through force.
He called for Russia to ‘immediately completely and unconditionally withdraw in the Ukraine’ and said ‘efforts to end this conflict must take Ukraine’s position into account.’
He called for Xi to play a ‘constructive role’ by speaking with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, which hasn’t happened since the invasion last February.
He said China should ‘hear directly from the Ukrainians, not just from the Russians.’
He said the White House was concerned about China’s call for a cease fire ‘that leaves Russian forces inside Ukraine sovereign territory. Any ceasefire that does not address the removal of Russian forces from Ukraine would effectively ratify Russia’s illegal conduct, enabling Russia to entrench its positions and then to restart the war at a more advantageous time,’ he said.
China and Russia suffered a split during the Cold War but forged new bonds after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. Both countries regularly inveigh against U.S.. power and the reach of western economic and military alliances.
Kirby also referenced Putin’s recent unannounced nighttime visit to the city of Mariupol in occupied Ukraine. ‘It’s far from the front lines. I hope he did get to see the damage and destruction that his troops did to that city,’ he said.
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