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In Putin and Russia, Xi sees counterweight to US, Nato influence: White House

March 22, 2023 10:57 IST

In President Vladimir Putin and Russia, the Chinese President Xi Jinping sees a counterweight to the American and North Atlantic Treat Organisation influence in the world, the White House said Tuesday.

IMAGE: Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping attend a reception at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, March 21, 2023. Photograph: Sputnik/Pavel Byrkin/Kremlin via Reuters

The statement by John Kirby, national security council coordinator for strategic communications at the White House, came as Putin hosted the Chinese leader.


"I think you've seen over the years that these two countries are growing close together. I wouldn't go so far to call it an alliance. … (it's) a marriage of convenience, because that's what I think it is. In President Putin and Russia, President Xi sees a counterweight to American influence and NATO influence, certainly on the continent and elsewhere around the world," Kirby told reporters at a daily news conference in Washington, DC.

"In President Xi, President Putin sees a potential backer here. This is a man who doesn't have a whole lot of friends on the international stage. They can count them on one hand mostly. He really needs and wants President Xi's support for what he's trying to do, because he's blowing through inventory," he said.

Referring to the joint statement after the Putin-Xi meeting, Kirby noted that on Ukraine the two sides just said, the purposes and principles of the UN Charter must be observed and international law must be respected.

"Well, we agree. Following the UN Charter would mean that Russia should withdraw from all the territory inside Ukraine, the territory of another member state of the UN, a member that it has invaded," he said.

The UN Charter enshrines the principles of respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries, including Ukraine, he said. Now, they also said, the parties call for the cessation of all steps that contribute to escalation of tension and the prolongation of hostilities, he added. "We agree."

"One way to stop the hostilities is to pull Russian troops out of Ukraine. But short of that, Mr. Putin could stop bombing hospitals, he could stop bombing schools, he could stop launching Iranian drones into civilian infrastructure. He could stop the forcible deportation of young kids, thousands of them, putting them in filtration camps inside other places inside Ukraine, but also inside Russia," Kirby said.

A day earlier, Kirby said that Russia is now a junior partner of China.

"Do you guys view Russia at this point as a client state of China?” he was asked.

“I would say there's--in that particular bilateral relationship, they certainly are the junior partner,” Kirby said.

Responding to another question, Kirby said the US does not think that China has taken providing lethal aid to Russia off the table, but they haven't moved in that direction. “We've seen no indication that they're about to fixing to provide lethal weapons,” he said.

Lalit K Jha in Washington, DC
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