US continues to push harsh narrative to pressure China over Ukraine crisis; a self-deceiving move of no help
Published: Mar 19, 2022 09:07 PM
Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

After the widely observed virtual summit between Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Joe Biden on March 18, some US officials and mainstream US media outlets still tried to continue to push the harsh narrative against China with the headlines such as "Biden warns China of 'consequences,'" a move that attempts to hype isolation of Russia and to show US "toughness" against China, analysts said, noting that such self-deceiving narrative will not help solve the Ukraine crisis and if the US takes no practical action, the consequences of the crisis will be unbearable, not only for Europe, the US itself will not be spared. 

Soon after the nearly-two-hour video summit, China released an official readout of what the two leaders talked about. While the White House readout came hours later and was very short and mentioned that during the meeting with Chinese President Xi, Biden "described the implications and consequences if China provides material support to Russia as it conducts brutal attacks against Ukrainian cities and civilians."

However, during the background press call after the Xi-Biden meeting, when answering questions from media on what are the consequences and how Biden made it, a US senior administration official was reluctant to offer details and said they would not "publicly lay out the options." 

The official then continued that "the President really wasn't making specific requests of China. He was laying out his assessment of the situation." The official also repeated that "China will make its own decisions." 

China's readout was detailed, reflecting that China has done a deliberate and careful work in managing relations with the US, Li Haidong, a professor from the Institute of International Relations of China Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times. It shows that China is highly responsible in handling the ties with the US and willing to see both sides advance their relations on the basis of difference management. 

"The White House's readout reveals the utilitarianism of the US in its relations with China, focusing only on its own concerns without considering how to maintain the overall landscape of China-US relations. It also reflects the inaccurate understanding of the summit by the US side," Li noted.

By releasing a one-sided readout, the US government attempted to further hype the atmosphere that Russia has been isolated by many countries, and the White House has ramped up the narrative battle to pressure more countries to distance themselves from Russia, Lü Xiang, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times. 

After the Xi-Biden meeting on Friday, some mainstream US media outlets, including The New York Times and The Washington Post, reported the event with the headline that highlights "Biden warns China."

Emphasizing Biden's "warning" to China is the US government's way to set its own diplomatic narrative with the purpose to show American public its toughness and capability in pressuring China, further isolating Russia and driving a wedge between China and Russia, Lü said, noting that however, this is a self-deceiving narrative.

Chinese President Xi Jinping encouraged the US and NATO to have conversations with Russia to solve the problems behind the Ukraine crisis, and expressed opposition to indiscriminate sanctions. 

Washington is eager to influence China's attitude over Ukraine crisis, but as the situation evolves, China's largely neutral stance on the issue has been strengthened. The conflict between Russia and Ukraine has significant impacts, but it has also opened up new geopolitical space, said observers.  

The US tried to coerce China to meet its own needs. Such a way is an unhealthy and problematic way to handle relations with China and other major powers. But this is in line with the US' bullying nature and logics, which apparently is not accepted by China and many other countries. Besides, it is such bullying norm that has made many international issues harder to solve, Li said. 

Just hours before the Xi-Biden meeting, China, in a rare move, sent tough signals, stating it will never accept US threats and coercion over the Ukraine issue and vowing to make a strong response if the US takes measures harming China's legitimate interests. In an exclusive interview with the Global Times, an anonymous Chinese official said China accepted the US' proposal for the video meeting between the heads of the two countries on China-US relations and the Ukraine situation out of considerations of bilateral relations, promoting peace talks and urging the US to take right stance. 

The US continues to see itself as exceptional. The superiority mentality makes the US believe it can set up rules around the world and then act beyond those rules. Washington thinks pressure campaign can solve all the problems while sanctions can bring all it wants, Li noted. 

However, the US has overlooked the shattered ties between itself and Russia due to its pressure and sanction campaign of the past three decades, which contributed to the Ukraine crisis. Moreover, the US wants to apply such logics to its relations with China. "Hasn't the US learned any lesson from this tragedy?" Li asked.