BEIJING/ MOSCOW/WASHINGTON – On the opening day of the Winter Olympics, China and Russia declared a “no limits” partnership, backing each other over standoffs on Ukraine and Taiwan with a promise to collaborate more against the West.
“Friendship between the two States has no limits, there are no ‘forbidden’ areas of cooperation,” the two countries said in a joint statement.
President Xi Jinping hosted President Vladimir Putin on Friday as the two nations said their relationship was superior to any Cold War era alliance and they would work together on space, climate change, artificial intelligence and control of the internet.
Beijing supported Russia’s demand that Ukraine should not be admitted into NATO, as the Russia amasses 100,000 troops near its neighbour, while Moscow opposed any form of independence for Taiwan.
The agreement marked the most detailed and assertive statement of Russian and Chinese resolve to work together to build a new international order based on their view of human rights and democracy.
Putin used the occasion to trumpet a new gas deal with China worth an estimated $117.5 billion, promising to ramp up Russia’s Far East exports.
The timing of their announcement was highly symbolic, as the US has diplomatically boycotted the event.
The United States hit back, saying China should have used the meeting to push for lowering of tensions in Ukraine.
Such an approach is what the world expects from “responsible powers,” the U.S. State Department’s top diplomat for East Asia Daniel Kritenbrink said.
“If Russia further invades Ukraine and China looks the other way, it suggests that China is willing to tolerate or tacitly support Russia’s efforts to coerce Ukraine…”
Russia has denied any plans to invade Ukraine.