GOP warns of ‘vacuum’ filled by China following Xi-Putin meetings

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Chinese President Xi Jinping gestures while speaking to Russian President Vladimir Putin during their meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, Monday, March 20, 2023. (Sergei Karpukhin, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP) Sergei Karpukhin/AP

GOP warns of ‘vacuum’ filled by China following Xi-Putin meetings

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Republicans warned about the growing challenge posed by the “DragonBear” alliance between Russia and China, including a global leadership “vacuum” filled by Chinese leader Xi Jinping, following a meeting in Moscow by the leaders of the two nations.

Congressional Republicans say the White House needs to take significant steps to push back on the rhetorical, economic, and nonlethal military support China is already providing.

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Rep. Mike Waltz (R-FL), a former Army Green Beret, told the Washington Examiner that “we’re seeing a new alignment of authoritarian regimes cementing between China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea that threatens our interests.”

“This ‘no limits’ partnership between Russia and China should be taken seriously and has very real military and economic implications,” Waltz said. “Xi especially sees an opportunity to step into a global leadership vacuum left by the Biden administration.”

Xi traveled to Moscow this week and told Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin on Wednesday that “right now there are changes the likes of which we haven’t seen for one hundred years — and we are the ones driving these changes together.” Putin said he agreed, and Xi added, “Take care, please, dear friend.”

The duo held a joint press conference on Tuesday, where the Chinese Foreign Ministry said Xi remarked that “over the past ten years, he and Putin have forged close relations, maintained strategic communication, and delivered fruitful outcomes through strategic coordination between the two countries.”

China said Xi and Putin “shared the view that this relationship has gone far beyond the bilateral scope and acquired critical importance for the global landscape and the future of humanity” and that “China and Russia have followed the principles of good-neighborliness, friendship, and win-win cooperation.” Xi also “pointed out that since last year” — when Russia invaded Ukraine — “the all-around practical cooperation between China and Russia has yielded fruitful outcomes.”

The Chinese and Russian leaders also signed joint statements on increasing economic cooperation and on “Deepening the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership of Coordination for the New Era” at the Kremlin in Moscow on Tuesday.

Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said this week that “Xi’s visit to Moscow is further proof the Chinese Communist Party has chosen to side with Russia, doubling down on the ‘no limits’ partnership Xi and Putin established before the full-scale invasion of Ukraine.”

“Make no mistake: Xi wants Putin to win and cannot serve as a neutral peace broker. And the world should expect Xi to call on Putin to return the favor if China invades Taiwan by providing military, economic, and diplomatic support,” McCaul said. “Increased CCP support of Russia should not be tolerated – by the United States or our allies and partners.”

Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI), who is leading the House select committee on China, said this week that “Xi and Putin just doubled down on their no-limits partnership, and while they claimed to oppose a ‘Cold War mentality,’ their actions make clear that they are already engaged in a New Cold War against the United States, our allies, and our values.”

Gallagher added, “We cannot view Russia and the Chinese Communist Party as separate threats, and we must push back against this de facto alliance with a sense of urgency.”

John Kirby, the White House National Security Council’s Coordinator for Strategic Communications, said on Tuesday that “if China wants to play a constructive role here in this conflict, then they ought to press Russia to pull its troops out of Ukraine and Ukrainian sovereign territory.”

Kirby spoke about the Xi-Putin comments on Ukraine on Wednesday, saying that “we would not describe it as a peace mission” when asked about Xi’s trip to Moscow, adding that “if China really wants to be helpful in that regard, they should be urging President Putin to get out of Ukraine.”

Secretary of State Antony Blinken told the Senate on Wednesday that China and Russia “have a marriage of convenience — I’m not sure if it’s conviction.” Blinken contended that “Russia is very much a junior partner in this relationship.”

Blinken added of China: “I think their diplomatic support, their political, and to some extent their material support for Russia certainly goes against our interests.”

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The New York Times reported in March that “China has sold more than $12 million in drones and drone parts” to Russia in the year since the Ukraine invasion, with China’s DJI and roughly 70 other Chinese exporters selling 26 brands of Chinese drones to Russia since early 2022.

The U.S. has also repeatedly warned China against providing the Russians with lethal weaponry for the invasion of Ukraine as the “DragonBear” alliance between Beijing and Moscow strengthens.

© 2023 Washington Examiner

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