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China, Russia turn up the heat on US after Xi, Putin meet in Moscow


 |  Moscow

Chinese President Xi Jinping (left) and Russian President Vladimir Putin. (Photo: SCMP)

China and Russia have voiced “serious concerns” about US nuclear weapons and bio-military activities, as the close strategic partners try to build a moral high ground in the narrative battle with the West.

The United States’ bio-military activities, both at home and overseas, were damaging the security of the countries concerned, China and Russia said in a joint statement after presidents Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin met in Moscow on Tuesday.

Expressing “serious concerns” about the security of relevant regions, the statement requested that the US clarify its position in this regard and refrain from actions that violate the Biological Weapons Convention.

It also pressed the US and close Asian ally Japan to step up their efforts to destroy chemical weapons.

 “The two sides urge the United States, as the only state party that has not completed the destruction of its chemical weapons, to expedite the destruction of its stockpile and Japan to complete the destruction of its abandoned chemical weapons in China as soon as possible,” the statement said, in a reference to Japanese troops’ retreat from China at the end of World War II.

The nuclear-armed neighbors also called on the world to “effectively reduce the risk of nuclear war”.

“No nuclear-armed state should deploy nuclear weapons outside its territory and should withdraw those deployed outside its territory,” the document released overnight said in a veiled reference to the US.

The five recognized nuclear-weapon states are China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States. Three others, India, Pakistan, and North Korea, have declared they possess nuclear weapons. Israel is believed to have them but has not officially confirmed this.

However, US nuclear weapons have been deployed in Turkey, Italy, Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands since the 1950s, after then US president Dwight Eisenhower authorized their storage at Nato bases to deter the erstwhile Soviet Union in the Cold War era.

Putin has repeatedly blamed Nato’s eastward expansion for provoking Russia’s invasion last year of Ukraine, which has long wanted to be a member of the US-led military alliance. Moscow has since accused Nato of actively taking part in the war.

The statement also called for an “objective, impartial and professional” probe into the attack on the Nord Stream undersea pipelines carrying Russian gas to Germany. Russia and the West have blamed each other for the explosions, but the cause remains a mystery.

The joint statement, which reaffirmed a deeper partnership on foreign policy, the economy and trade, as well as politics and security, also said both countries were opposed to “attempts by individual states to turn outer space into a frontier for military confrontation”.

While most of the criticism of and demands on the US were not new, the latest joint document might signal more intense efforts from Beijing to counter US pressure on issues ranging from investigating the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic to its refusal to condemn the invasion of Ukraine.

Wang Zhengxu, professor of political science at Zhejiang University’s school of public administration, said while economic cooperation was high on the agenda for Xi, cooperation on global politics and security issues was also worth noting.

“In a strategic sense, this is great support for Russia in its current difficult situation in the international arena,” Wang said, adding that China appeared to be looking to counter the US in the global narrative war.

“This suggests that China has found some ways and areas to put pressure on the US,” Wang said.

“These topics, if stirred up in the global discourse arena, could put pressure on the US and major Nato countries.” (SCMP)



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