China is reacting coolly to Russian requests for support as its war on Ukraine bogs down and Western sanctions batter its economy, the Washington Post reported.
Moscow has become increasingly frustrated by its requests for aid falling on deaf ears as Beijing has been cautious not to break US-led curbs on the Russian economy, the report said.
On at least two occasions, Russia sought economic support from China relating to maintaining “trade commitments” predating Moscow’s February 24 invasion of Ukraine, and financial and technological support, the report said, citing a Chinese official.
China faces a dilemma as it has close relations with Moscow, reflected in the joint military drill last week that saw Russian and Chinese strategic bombers fly over the Sea of Japan and East China Sea while US President Joe Biden was in Tokyo.
“What China is trying to do is to be with Russia, signal neutrality publicly and not be compromised financially,” the Post quoted a US official as saying. “Many of those goals are contradictory. It’s hard to fulfil them at the same time.”
China and Russia proclaimed their “no limits’’ strategic partnership in February, stating there are no “forbidden areas of cooperation’’ as they moved to counter US hegemony.
They maintain close diplomatic ties, as evidenced by their joint veto on May 27 of a US-led push to impose more United Nations sanctions on North Korea over its renewed ballistic missile launches.
It was the first time the UN Security Council had split over a North Korean sanctions vote since it started punishing Pyongyang in 2006.
In April, China said it would continue to increase “strategic coordination” with Russia, regardless of international volatility, the foreign ministry in Beijing said in a statement.
Chinese deputy foreign minister Le Yucheng gave the assurance to the Russian ambassador to China, Andrey Denisov, the statement said.