White House Pushes Back on China-Russia Joint Statement

By Nick Ciolino
Nick Ciolino
Nick Ciolino
Nick Ciolino covers the White House.
February 4, 2022 Updated: February 5, 2022

The White House offered some pushback Friday to a joint statement issued by Beijing and Moscow.

Russia’s Vladimir Putin met with China’s Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the Beijing Olympics Friday, and the two issued a joint statement.

Without naming the United States, the lengthy statement mentions a minority of actors on the international scale that “advocate unilateral approaches,” “interfere in the internal affairs of other states,” and are “hampering the development and progress of mankind.”

The statement also joins China in Russia’s opposition to the “further enlargement of NATO” and calls on NATO to “abandon its ideologized cold war approaches.” It also expresses Russian opposition to an independent Taiwan.

The statement comes as Russia has amassed tens of thousands of troops along its border with Ukraine and days after Chinese warplanes imposed on Taiwanese airspace.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Friday pointed to the United States’ “own relationship with China” as a response to the statement.

“What we have control over is our own relationships and the projection of our own values and also looking for ways to work with countries even where we disagree,” said Psaki while citing recent talks between U.S. Secretary Antony Blinken and his Chinese counterpart.

Psaki also reiterated that proposed U.S. sanctions against Russia in the event that it invades Ukraine would have “massive consequences” for the Kremlin. She also said that a destabilizing conflict in Europe would impact China’s interests all over the world as well.

“The inputs to the major foundational technologies of the world still come from the West so there’s an enormous amount of power we have as we work to continue to strengthen our diplomatic efforts with our partners around the world,” Psaki added.

Psaki and her State Department colleague, Ned Price, have each come under criticism after both of them separately answered questions from the press Thursday by suggesting reporters were parroting propaganda from foreign entities.

In an exchange with a reporter, Price was repeatedly asked to provide evidence supporting the U.S. government’s claim that Russia plans to create a “false flag” propaganda video as a pretext for invading Ukraine.

Price responded: “If you doubt the credibility of the U.S. government, of the British government, of other governments and want to, you know, find solace in information that the Russians are putting out, that is for you to do.”

That same day aboard Air Force One, a reporter asked Psaki for evidence to back the claim that ISIS leader Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi detonated a suicide bomb killing civilians during an attack by U.S. forces in Syria.

Psaki responded by asking the reporter if she thought the U.S. military is “not providing accurate information and ISIS is providing accurate information.”

Psaki addressed the criticism Friday by saying that “we welcome tough questions and good-faith scrutiny,” adding that the Department of Defense is still conducting after-action assessments of the events in Syria, and evidence of U.S. claims will be provided once they are available.

She also said the United States has a significant amount of credible intelligence about Russian efforts to use a false pretext to justify an invasion of Ukraine, adding that “we’ve seen them run false-flag operations in the past and use confusion to launch military action many times in history.”

Nick Ciolino
Nick Ciolino covers the White House.