China Media Pushes for Russia Alliance After Joe Biden-Vladimir Putin Spat, Alaska Meeting

Chinese state media is pushing for closer Beijing-Moscow ties after last week's war of words between President Joe Biden's administration and top officials in Russia and China.

The Biden administration has vowed to push back on both China and Russia over the next four years, as the White House looks to refocus American foreign policy on the U.S.-led international system, traditional alliances, and democracy abroad.

Biden's vow to protect liberal democratic values puts him at odds with the authoritarian systems in Russia and China, and conflict last week with President Vladimir Putin and Chinese officials at bilateral talks in Alaska gave a hint of the great power tensions that might yet characterize his term.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken heads to Europe this week for NATO talks, at which Russia and China will be high on the agenda. Before the week is out, Moscow and Beijing might be bristling even more at recharged American assertiveness.

Such tensions could, or even should, push Moscow and Beijing closer together, China's nationalistic Global Times newspaper asserted in an editorial published on Sunday.

The newspaper appeared especially frustrated by Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin's trips in Japan, South Korea and India this week, as the White House seeks to shore up its Asian front.

"The U.S. has been arrogant and overbearing lately, publicly and simultaneously piling pressure on both China and Russia," Global Times said. "Washington is playing a game that is surely to harm itself and likely does no good to its Asian allies," it added.

"The U.S.' sense of crisis stems fundamentally from the decline of its comprehensive competitiveness. Its hegemonic framework remains roughly the same, yet its internal supportive power is weakening. The problem will not be resolved by strengthening ties with its allies. The tactic may give the U.S. more courage, but it is essentially exposing U.S. diffidence."

While the U.S. grapples with supposed terminal imperial decline, Global Times said, "a new era" is developing under the guidance of Moscow and Beijing. "China and Russia understand the weight of their ties," the newspaper said.

Russia and China are looking for new areas of cooperation. The two nations are among a group of 17 calling themselves "the Group of Friends in Defense of the Charter of the United Nations," which plans to push back on unilateral military or sanctions efforts by other UN members.

The group came together after the U.S. tried and failed to unseat Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro in 2019, followed by a sanctions campaign on the beleaguered nation. Both Russia and China remain staunch supporters of Maduro, offering significant financial and military support.

Moscow and Beijing have also worked together to keep the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action nuclear deal with Iran alive, even through years of American "maximum pressure" under former President Donald Trump. Russia and China have both called on Biden to return to the deal "unconditionally."

During the coronavirus pandemic, both Moscow and Beijing have peddled disinformation and conspiracy theories to undermine their Western rivals, while fortifying their totalitarian rule at home.

New economic cooperation agreements have included deals to cooperate in energy and civilian aircraft manufacturing, while Russia is also part of China's mammoth Belt and Road initiative, though has shown signs it will not blindly swallow whatever Beijing demands.

"To be honest, no country in the region can stand alone against either China or Russia, let alone fight against the two powers at the same time," Global Times wrote in Sunday's editorial. "It would be disastrous for any country which tends to confront China and Russia through forging an alliance with the U.S."

"If the U.S. relies on its alliance to solve the problems caused by its outdated hegemonism, it will be a crazy act," Global Times said. "On the contrary, China and Russia's move to forge a partnership rather than an alliance is displaying their confidence, and is more in line with the spirit of this era."

Putin and Xi with flags 2014 meeting
This file photo shows Russian and Chinese flags in front of President Vladimir Putin President Xi Jinping at a signing ceremony at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, China on November 9, 2014. HOW HWEE YOUNG/AFP via Getty Images