Why does US hype up argument of "China supporting Russia" at this moment?

China Military Online
Chen Zhuo
2024-05-16 10:18:41

By Zhang Gaosheng

The US drove a small surge recently in its persistent efforts to stigmatize the normal economic and trade exchanges between China and Russia and hyped up the argument of "China supporting Russia" capitalizing on the crisis in Ukraine.

The US started with the disinformation about China's supply of weapons to Russia repeatedly disseminated by its senior officials in public and the trumpeted argument that "China helps to rebuild Russia's defense industrial base." It then increased the frequency of intensified secondary sanctions against China related to Russia over time.

On May 1, the US Department of Treasury and Department of State imposed sanctions on 22 Chinese companies for helping Russia circumvent Western sanction s and supporting its military operations. On May 9, the US Department of Commerce included several Chinese entities in its export control list on the grounds of exporting controlled goods to Russia.

Moreover, in recent days, the US expressed by virtue of informed sources and public opinion that the Biden administration is considering sanction measures to exclude some Chinese banks from the global financial system, aiming to prevent China's commercial support to Russian military production. The US Department of State further hinted at the possibility of more measures aimed at curtailing Russia's trade with China and other countries. In that case, what is the purpose of the US by vigorously hyping up the argument of "China supporting Russia" at the special moment prior to Russian President Vladimir Putin's upcoming visit to China?

First, the US attempts to weaken Russia's military power and drive a wedge between China and Russia. Currently, the Ukrainian forces are forced into a defensive posture on the front battlefield. The US hopes to use economic means to weaken Russia's military production capacity as well as further reinforce the comparative advantage of the Ukrainian forces in the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Through the sanctions against China, the US intends to both put pressure on Russia and warn China. The US directly seeks to push Chinese companies out of the Russian market to restrain the so-called "China's potential military support to Russia" and split the close cooperation between China and Russia from a deeper level.

Second, the US attempts to lay the protracted Russia-Ukraine conflict to China's charge and incite disharmony between China and Europe. By persistently hyping up the argument of "China supporting Russia," the US aims to create unfriendly public opinion towards China in Europe, leading the international community to ignore the fault of the US in pouring fuel on the crisis in Ukraine. The US, making use of Europe's anxiety about its own geopolitical security, has forged a tough image that contributes to the consolidation of its leadership among the European allies and enables it to strengthen its influence and role in the region.

Third, the Biden administration uses the sanctions as a political stunt to obtain more electoral support. Since 2024, the political rivalry between Biden and Trump has reached a fever pitch. As the incumbent president, Biden is in a more favorable position to use current administration actions to state his stances and show his accomplishments. As a common concern and hyped issue of the Democratic and Republican parties, how to show a tough "means" to China has become a critical way for the Biden administration to take the lead in the election.

Fourth, the true intention behind the disguise is that the US wants to further suppress China's military industry development. Since the Trump administration, the US has been anxious about the development of China's military power and has repeatedly criticized and smeared China's defense policy. At the same time, the US has created several blacklists to incorporate Chinese military enterprises. Under the disguise of "Chinese assistance to Russia", the true intention of the US is to contain China's military power development and maintain its own military hegemony.

China has always carried out normal economic and trade cooperation with Russia and other countries in the world based on equality and mutual benefit. The normal economic and trade cooperation between China and Russia complies with WTO rules and market principles. It is not targeted at and brooks no interference from any third party. The actions taken by the US, on the contrary, lack legal basis in international law and the mandate of the UN Security Council. They will not only do no good to the solving of the crisis in Ukraine, but also undermine the international economic and trade rules and order, and endanger the security and stability of the global industrial and supply chains.

(The author is an assistant researcher at the Department for World Peace and Security, China Institute of International Studies.)

Editor's note: Originally published on china.com.cn, this article is translated from Chinese into English and edited by the China Military Online. The information and opinions in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of eng.chinamil.com.cn.

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