Xi Jinping realises he 'needs Moscow's support' says Bermann
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US President Joe Biden’s Secretary of State has fuelled tensions with China during the Biden administration’s first meeting with Xi Jinping, as Secretary Antony Blinken has raised human rights and violations concerns. In a statement to the press, the US said they would discuss “our deep concerns with actions by China, including in Xinjiang, Hong Kong, Taiwan, cyber attacks on the United States, and economic coercion toward our allies.” This comes amid China’s deepening feud with Washington and record-high levels of negative perceptions towards Beijing following the pandemic.
France’s former ambassador to Beijing and Moscow says this situation has left Xi Jinping with no choice but to move closer to Vladimir Putin.
Speaking to French TV channel Public Sénat, former Ambassador Sylvie Bermann said: “He has no choice because the Americans have declared a form of cold war against China, saying that China is the main enemy.
“And the result of that – and I saw this when I was ambassador to Russia last year – well, there is a rapprochement that has been made, a strategic partnership.
“It’s not an alliance because the Chinese don’t want an alliance, they’ve had that in the past.
Ms Bermann added: “And indeed, at the time of the Olympic Games, he (Xi Jinping) said: it’s a partnership without limits.
“But it was always said that we shouldn’t put the Russians in China’s arms. I mean, in the end, that’s what happened.”
This partnership comes as Putin is waging a war in Ukraine where the West is supporting Ukraine with weaponry and military assistance but hasn’t been directly involved in the conflict out of fear of a full-blown Third World War.
Ms Bermann continued: “On the principle: the enemy of my enemy is my friend.
“And so, as he (Xi Jinping) knows very well that anyway, he will be a victim – at least, he perceives it that way – of Western initiatives, of the United Nations or elsewhere, he will need Moscow’s support.”
Since Putin’s invasion of Ukraine started, China has been quite unclear about its position and has so far failed to condemn it.
The country abstained from voting on a draft resolution telling Moscow to stop attacking Ukraine and pull out all troops immediately, while the 11 other council members voted in favour.
Reflecting on Xi Jinping’s position, Ms Bermann said: “I think he’s actually very embarrassed about this war because what Putin has told him and most probably what he’s telling the Russians and the world.
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“That he was going to launch a special military operation to help the Russian-speaking people of the Donbas who were victims of genocide, etc. etc.
“He must not have told him that he was going to wage a massive war.”
Despite China’s apparent surprise when Putin effectively attacked Ukraine, the former ambassador said Xi Jinping’s re-alignment isolates the US.
Ms Bermann added: “I think they have a common enemy today which is the United States and probably the West behind the United States.
“And so, I think Xi Jinping has no choice. He’s not going to mend fences with the Americans. He can’t do that”, Ms Bermann added.
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