In the face of Western disinformation and foreign interference, Russia and China must work together to tackle not only the Covid-19 pandemic, but fast-mutating threats on the world stage as well, Beijing’s top diplomat has argued.
At a session of the National People’s Congress on Sunday, Foreign Minister Wang Yi insisted that “China and Russia have always been the pillars of peace and stability in the world.” History shows, he said, that “the more unstable and turbulent the world is, the more decisive cooperation between China and Russia will become.”
At the same time, Yi announced that the two nations “will build a model of strategic mutual trust, firmly supporting each other in upholding our fundamental interests, joining forces against ‘color revolutions,’ and fighting all types of false information, and maintaining our sovereignty and political security.”
He noted that China and Russia are co-operating “side by side” in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, and are ready to “work together to fight the “political virus” together.
The diplomat specifically singled out Washington as a potential threat to Chinese autonomy, but added that “we are ready to openly explore and co-operate with the US… and we will not artificially create new obstacles.”
Beijing and Moscow have sought closer ties in recent years against a backdrop of sanctions, trade disputes and increasingly tense relations with the West. In 2019, Chinese premier Xi Jinping described his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, as his “best friend.” At the end of last year, the two agreed in principle to “unswervingly” develop ever-closer partnerships and to “effectively resist any attempt to suppress and divide the two countries.”
However, analysts have previously argued that, despite warm rhetoric, Russia-China relations “run a mile wide and an inch deep,” with little functional military and political integration compared to Western blocs like NATO and the EU.
However, relations have undoubtedly thawed in recent decades. Despite both sharing ideological adherence to forms of state communism, in 1969 China and the Soviet Union fought a series of skirmishes over disputed territories in Far East Asia.
Earlier this month, a number of Western outlets alleged that hackers from both countries had reportedly engaged in a campaign of cyber-espionage to steal data on European candidate vaccine. At the same time, US President Joe Biden’s administration was said to be concerned about alleged cyberattacks from the two nations.
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