China and Russia Wary of Geopolitical Traps
From Beijing, the spokesman of the Foreign Ministry Zhao Lijian welcomed the decision by Presidents Biden and Putin to hold a dialogue aimed at reducing the danger of conflict and nuclear war. China, he said, is ready to join all efforts ultimately leading to “comprehensive and complete nuclear disar mament”. Prior to the June 16 summit, Chinese officials and media had repeatedly noted that one of the major goals of the forces behind the U.S. President is to drive a wedge between China and Russia.
That Vladimir Putin is quite aware of that particular aspect of Washington’s recent opening to Moscow, was made clear in an unusual interview he granted to NBC shortly before the summit. Asked repeatedly by interviewer Keir Simmons whether he was concerned about potential threats from China, the Russian President finally answered: “Can I be completely honest? We can see attempts at destroying the relationship between Russia and China. We can see that those attempts are being made in practical policies. And your questions, too, have to do with it.”
He also made the point that the two countries have developed a high an unprecedented level of “trust and cooperation in all areas: in politics, in the economy, in technology”, and a “strategic partnership relationship” never before achieved “in the history of our nations”.
After meeting with Putin, Joe Biden himself reflected the war party’s attempt to play Beijing’s interests against those of Moscow. Putin, he claimed, feels “squeezed” by a China that is seeking world dominance while Russia struggles to remain “relevant”. The semi-official Global Times denounced the next day “such a baseless provocation”, noting that one need only look at the eastward expansion of NATO and the sanctions imposed on Russia by the EU and U.S. to understand what real strategic squeezing is.