China seeks to strengthen ties with Russia

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov shakes hands with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.Photo: Madoka Ikegami-Pool/Getty Images.

China wants to "deepen" cooperation with Russia, while maintaining its official impartiality on the war in Ukraine, according to statements Sunday from Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

The big picture: China is frustrated by what it believes are unfair Western trade practices, driven by U.S. policy and Yi's comments may be aimed more at Washington, D.C. than at Moscow.

  • Strengthening relationships with Russia and Putin, including last week's joint naval drills in the East China Sea, could be seen as political pushback.

Catch up quick: Tensions between the U.S. and China ratcheted up earlier this month.

  • First, the Biden administration came out in support of anti-COVID policy protesters in China.
  • Then, the new omnibus spending bill included up to $10 billion in security assistance for Taiwan.

But, but, but: China will be reticent to push too hard.

  • In the same speech that Yi accused the U.S. of“unilateral bullying," he also acknowledged "that China and the United States cannot decouple or sever supply chains.”
  • "People in both countries and the rest of the world are hoping to see a stabilizing and improving China-US relationship. The zero-sum mentality will only lead the two major countries to mutual attrition and head-on collision," Yi said.

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