The Chinese Communist Party’s Global Times newspaper disclosed, citing a high-level “source” that Beijing had no intention of inviting US and Western politicians to the 2022 Winter Olympics on February 4-20. This followed US President Joe Biden’s allusion that he was considering a diplomatic boycott of the Games.
The White House apparently sensed that Biden was unlikely to be on Beijing’s guest list. Period. Tass had quoted Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov as saying after meeting his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi on Sept. 16 in Dushanbe that President Vladimir Putin had received “with delight” an invitation to the Games from Chinese President Xi Jinping. accepted.
Biden waited another two months to conclude that he is not on Xi’s list of invitees. The Olympic rules state that politicians to attend the Games must first be invited by the host country, with the approval of the International Olympic Committee.
The Global Times report said that “China as the host country does not intend to invite politicians who incite the ‘boycott’ of the Beijing Games.” It wryly noted that Biden’s boycott speech was “nothing but self-deception.”
In an indirect reference to the pandemic conditions in the US, Global Times noted: “Given the serious situation of the COVID-19 pandemic worldwide, it is not appropriate to invite foreign guests on a large scale, which can be easily understood by Mentally challenged people. common sense.”
The rejection comes just 14 days after Biden’s virtual meeting with Xi Jinping on Nov. 15. In a larger perspective, however, this extraordinary episode is warranted, given the provocative manner in which the Biden administration has recently taunted Beijing for encroaching on China’s core interests.
On the other hand, Xi’s extraordinary gesture to Putin by personally conveying the invitation to the Games in an August telephone conversation testifies to the high quality of the “comprehensive strategic cooperation partnership of the two countries for a new era”.
In a comprehensive commentary on the topic on Nov. 30, based on regular bilateral talks between the heads of governments of China and Russia yesterday, the Global Times highlighted the rapidly growing and deeper ties between the two armed forces. It pointed out emphatically,
“On military cooperation, the two countries recently signed a roadmap for closer ties, which military experts say indicates that Russia and China share common interests and views on strategic stability and regional security, especially in the Pacific.
Such a strengthening of cooperation in the defense sector is also seen as a response to the West’s pressure on Russia and the alarming signals China has received from the US and its allies, experts said.
“Wu Qian, spokesman for the Ministry of National Defense, said at a news conference on Thursday that the Chinese military expects an even better relationship with its Russian counterpart and is willing to play a greater role in ensuring world peace and stability. ”
The above two reports in the Global Times came out on a day when the Kremlin indicated that strategic relations between Russia and China are about to take a historic leap. In separate remarks yesterday, Putin and Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin hinted at Moscow’s readiness for a de facto alliance with Beijing.
Putin positively evaluated China’s “growing defense potential as it (Russia) has the highest level of relations with the country and ramps up its armed forces itself.” In his signature nuanced way, Putin drew a loaded comparison with the existing alliance between the US, UK and France!
Again, during the talks between the two prime ministers yesterday, Mishustin suggested to Prime Minister Li Keqiang that in the prevailing “complex external environment” of sanctions, “unfriendly actions”, “unfair competition” and “unlawful unilateral sanctions, as well as political and economic pressures ”, Russia and China should also “work together” for their joint development.
Mishustin pointed to an intertwining of plans between the Moscow-led Eurasian Economic Union and China’s Belt and Road initiative. “This is important for strengthening the interconnection in the Eurasian space, it will help ensure the economic progress of Russia and China and create a solid foundation for the formation of a greater Eurasian partnership,” Mishustin told Li, while also reiterated that Putin had previously presented this idea.
Certainly, Putin’s visit to Beijing in February holds the promise of a profound elevating of the already high-level Sino-Russian partnership. There is a transition from the close cooperation between the two powers to coordination and active pooling of resources to support each other, not only to safeguard their core interests in the face of the growing militancy in the Biden administration’s strategies, but also on a global level to build a network of regional alliances.
The Pentagon’s 2021 Global Posture Review, announced Monday, hints at a global stance and intent to develop a “global response capability” that includes not only the Indo-Pacific and Europe, but also “sustainable posture requirements” in the Middle East, in Africa and Latin America. This is a far cry from the pacifist agenda Biden had previously embraced and his vociferous claim early in his presidency that diplomacy is “back at the center” of US foreign policy.
Significantly, Putin’s comments yesterday also referred to cooperation with third countries between Russia and China as an important vector of their partnership. “We have many areas of cooperation with China. One of these concerns our work in third countries. It is in full swing, but it could be expanded further. Why? Because we share roughly the same approaches and principles,” Putin said.
Putin stressed that Moscow supported Beijing’s efforts to create a global infrastructure of trade routes. “We support the efforts of our Chinese friends based on the One Belt One Road strategy,” Putin said.
Interestingly, Putin singled out Western Asia as potentially a theater of coordination between Russia and China. Indeed, Putin spoke in this vein as Sino-Russian coordination shifted to a common position strongly endorsing Iran’s demand for the lifting of US sanctions and negotiations got off to a promising start in Vienna.
The bottom line is, diplomatic practices aside, the co-authorship of a powerful op-ed in an influential American magazine last week by Russian and Chinese ambassadors in Washington Anatoly Antonov and Qin Gang, which criticizes Biden’s summit of democracy, proclaims that the Chinese-Russian alliance is already sailing on the Potomac River. Unfortunately, the National Interest was ordered to remove the piece from its website! (read it here)