China on Thursday blasted the US for continuing to interfere in its affairs, further saying nothing has fundamentally changed, but instead charging there’s been “new shocks” since the Biden-Xi virtual summit of two months ago.
The scathing rebuke came on Thursday as Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi held a phone call with his counterpart Secretary of State Antony Blinken. Importantly, Wang took the opportunity to for the first time side with Russia in the direct communication with the US top diplomat, saying Moscow has “reasonable security concerns” over Ukraine that must be “taken seriously”. Chinese state media and Beijing-linked pundits have also become increasingly vocal on the issue, charging NATO with overstepping…
Russia won’t be alone when it resists squeeze from the US and NATO. China will offer Russia support for sure. https://t.co/dKfQRfIgtt
— Hu Xijin 胡锡进 (@HuXijin_GT) January 27, 2022
He urged calm on the part of all sides but specifically called on the West to “abandon its Cold War mentality”. It’s been no secret that Washington sanctions and punitive actions against officials in both countries have served to make Russia and China unlikely allies against a common enemy.
“All parties should completely abandon the Cold War mentality and form a balanced, effective and sustainable European security mechanism through negotiation,” Wang spelled out in the call with Blinken, according to AFP.
The tough rhetoric echoed the words of Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian during a Wednesday press briefing. In response to US claims that Russia is likely to invade Ukraine during the Beijing Winter Olympics, Zhao said, “As the world’s largest military alliance, NATO should abandon the outdated Cold War mentality and ideological bias, and do things that are conducive to upholding peace and stability.”
He suggested that NATO is outdated and contributes to instability: “China firmly opposes all kinds of small cliques,” he added, and urged “fully consider each other’s legitimate security concerns, avoid antagonism and confrontation, and properly address differences and disputes through equal consultation on the basis of mutual respect.”
Wang focused much of his Thursday call with Blinken on the “urgent priority” that the “US should stop interfering in the Beijing Winter Olympics.” The swipe appeared not just aimed at Washington’s continued emphasis on China’s human rights abuses, including allegations of detention centers and “genocide” targeting Uighur Muslims, but in response to the words the day prior from Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman.
Sherman had unexpectedly linked the Ukraine crisis with the Olympic games hosted by China:
“We all are aware that the Beijing Olympics begin on Feb. 4, the opening ceremony, and President Putin expects to be there. I think that, probably, [Chinese] President Xi Jinping would not be ecstatic if Putin chose that moment to invade Ukraine, so that may affect his timing and his thinking,” Sherman said in a virtual conference.
Senior US official predicts Russia will attack Ukraine by mid-February. Wendy Sherman notes China won’t like invasion during Beijing Winter Olympics; US embassy in Kyiv advises citizens to consider leaving ‘now’; diplomatic talks continue #Russia #Ukraine #USA [TOI] pic.twitter.com/s2kbMr19lO
— Eli Dror (@edrormba) January 26, 2022
She said this even as Ukraine’s leaders have stressed that it doesn’t appear an invasion is “imminent” – as the White House has been asserting.
Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry has essentially rejected the US assessment, stating at the start of the week when the US Embassy in Kiev began reducing staff: “In fact, there have been no radical changes in the security situation recently: the threat of new waves of Russian aggression has remained constant since 2014, and the accumulation of Russian troops near the state border began in April last year,” the ministry said.
Meanwhile, in the South China Sea…
PLA recently organized warplane drills based on Yongxing Island of the Xisha Islands in the South China Sea, after a US warship trespassed into Chinese territorial waters in the region ahead of the #Beijing2022. https://t.co/gNbSvMk60t pic.twitter.com/v6o0n3K4Zt
— Global Times (@globaltimesnews) January 27, 2022
Already there’s a US diplomatic boycott of the games, which means no US government official can attend, despite America being represented in the games through its athletes.