China and Russia ‘drawn closer’ through pressure

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo / REUTERS file photo
Left : China’s national flag
Right : Russian national flag

BEIJING / MOSCOW — China expressed strong dissatisfaction with a joint communique issued at the recent Group of Seven summit in Cornwall, England. “The communique issued fact-distorting content on Xinjiang, Hong Kong, Taiwan and other matters,” the spokesperson of the Chinese Embassy in Britain said in a statement on Monday.

The spokesperson expressed grave concern and firm opposition, criticizing the communique as “wanton smearing of China and blatant interference in its internal affairs.”

The Chinese Embassy in Canada also issued a statement on Monday and criticized Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s remarks at the G7 summit. Beijing did not directly react on Monday, which was a public holiday in China.

Chinese President Xi Jinping’s administration has denounced the G7 framework as “small-circle group politics.” At the same time, the administration is keeping a close eye on whether the G7, including Germany, France and Italy, can remain united against China, and it will “proceed with the effort to break up [their] unity,” said a source related to the Chinese Communist Party.

Moves against China and Russia led by the United States have also heightened alarm in China. Chinese political scientist Shi Yinhong argues that this will draw China and Russia even closer together in a “strategic partnership relationship.”

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi held a phone meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on June 5, prior to the summit, and reaffirmed the two nations’ firm support for each other regarding issues involving their “core interests.”

Cooperating with China to counter the United States serves Russia’s interests as well, as Moscow complains of U.S. engagement with countries of the former Soviet Union as “interference.”

In response to the G7 communique, a Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson took to social media to argue that the G7 side is responsible for its unstable relationship with Russia.

However, the communique also stated the G7’s “interest in stable and predictable relations with Russia.” Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is due to meet U.S. President Joe Biden on Wednesday, appears to see the possibility of an easing of pressure after the communique showed the G7’s stance of not wanting to see an extreme deterioration in relations with Russia.

Amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, China and Russia are trying to expand their influence in emerging and developing countries by providing support including offering COVID-19 vaccines. For the G7 nations, working to end the pandemic and resolve global issues such as climate change, China and Russia cannot be dealt with by simple confrontation.