The deepening relationship between China and Russia was due in large part to their mutual interest in challenging the US' global influence, John Kirby, National Security Council spokesperson, told CNN's Christiane Amanpour Tuesday.
“Where they intersect is pushing back on the United States and our influence around the world," Kirby said. "Where they intersect is pushing back on this thing we call the rules-based international order. Which I know sounds kind of like a wonky term, but it’s basically the rule of law and the foundational principles of the UN charter by which nations around the world are supposed to abide. And they’re pushing back against that."
Kirby's remarks come as Chinese leader Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin forge closer ties in Moscow in a show of unity that has heightened Western concerns that Beijing will provide cover for Russia's war in Ukraine.
"They’d like to change the rules of the game," Kirby said. "And in each other they see a useful foil. They see a useful friend. But that’s what they’re doing. They’re basically trying to use each other here to challenge US leadership and the West — particularly in Europe — but elsewhere around the world.”
In a joint statement released by China’s Foreign Ministry on Wednesday, Xi and Putin said their partnership is in the “fundamental interests” of both countries, adding that “Russia needs a prosperous and stable China, and China needs a strong and successful Russia.”