China stepped up its rhetorical support for Russia, defying the U.S. and other nations who want Beijing to condemn Moscow for the war in Ukraine.
“An important takeaway from the success of China-Russia relations is that the two sides rise above the model of military and political alliance in the Cold War era,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said, adding that they “commit themselves to developing a new model of international relations.”
That model involved not causing confrontations or targeting other nations, Zhao said at a regular briefing Friday in Beijing.
He added that this was different from the “Cold War mentality” displayed by certain countries—Beijing’s standard criticism of U.S. cooperation with blocs like the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, whose expansion Beijing says led to Russia’s attack.
President Joe Biden warned President Xi Jinping last month of “implications and consequences” if Beijing backs Moscow over the invasion, and the Chinese leader said his country didn’t want the war.
There’s been no sign that China has supported Russia or helped it get around sanctions, but it has offered rhetorical support by repeating Russian conspiracy theories, such as the false claim that the U.S. runs a network of weapons biolabs in Ukraine.
Beijing has also repeatedly indicated it stood by the “no limits” friendship that Xi and Russian President Vladimir Putin declared when they met just before the Winter Olympics in February in Beijing.