A top Chinese official said that his country will continue its partnership with Russia in the hopes of creating a new international order that will rival western influence.
"The Chinese side is willing to work with the Russian side to continuously implement high-level strategic cooperation between the two countries, safeguard common interests and promote the development of the international order in a more just and reasonable direction," Director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the Communist Party of China Central Committe Yang Jiechi said Monday, according to Bloomberg.
The comments come amid Russia's ongoing war with neighboring Ukraine, which has resulted in international outrage and an effort by many western governments to sanction Russia and cut off its influence around the globe.
But the international influence campaign has seemingly brought Russia and China closer together, with Chinese President Xi Jinping set to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin later this week in Xi's first foreign trip since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
While China has not provided Russia with direct support or relief from sanctions, it has extended its trade partnership with a Russian economy struggling to find international partners. About 81% of Russian car imports during the second quarter came from China, Bloomberg reported, while China's Xiaomi phone brand became the most popular in Russia during the same time period.
China has also been a dependable consumer of Russian fuel, buying up liquefied natural gas (LNG) at a steep discount from Russia. The arrangement has benefited both countries, giving Russia a buyer for its energy resources while China has used the windfall to sell energy sources at a markup to a European economy that has found itself short of resources amid sanctions against Russia.
"Russia and China are building a massive $55 billion pipeline called the ‘Power of Siberia,’ delivering gas from Siberia to Shanghai," Rebekah Koffler, a former DIA intelligence officer and the author of "Putin’s Playbook: Russia’s Secret Plan to Defeat America," told Fox News Digital. "This is a major development of strategic importance as Putin is pivoting to Asia in a big way. The Kremlin has concluded that Russia-U.S. relations are irreparable and that the U.S. and Western sanctions are here to stay indefinitely."
Russia and China have also worked together to send money transfers to China in yuan without using the SWIFT messaging system, which helps Russia bypass international sanctions and works toward the Chinese goal of devaluing the influence of the U.S. dollar.
"Russia already has established a method of transferring payments to convert wire currency into Chinese yuan, bypassing SWIFT," Koffler said, adding that the Russian Finance Ministry also announced the country is "transitioning to yuan, playing into China’s strategic goal of replacing the U.S. dollar with the Chinese yuan as the dominant international reserve currency by 2049."