Chinese President Xi Jinping with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Moscow in 2019. Photo: AFP / Alexander Zemlianichenko

Chinese state media have launched a new campaign against the United States after the Biden administration announced the deployment of 3,000 troops to Eastern Europe as Russia amassed an estimated 130,000 troops on the Ukrainian border.

The media blitz comes after Chinese President Xi Jinping met with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Beijing on February 4, after which they issued a joint statement to “oppose further enlargement of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and call on the North Atlantic Alliance to abandon its ideologized cold war approaches.”

Xi said the two sides remained committed to deepening strategic coordination of mutual support and standing shoulder to shoulder for international fairness and justice in response to an international landscape full of profound and complex evolution.

The two leaders also said they would strengthen their strategic partnership on energy, make steady progress on major oil and gas cooperation projects, and step up joint innovation efforts to achieve major technological breakthroughs in the energy sector.

On February 7, Chinese mouthpiece media criticized US officials for fueling tensions by claiming that the Russian army would soon invade Ukraine without providing any substantiating evidence.

On February 4, US Pentagon spokesman Jack Kirby accused Russia of plotting to fabricate an attack by Ukrainian forces that it could use as a pretext to take military action against its neighbor.

The alleged false flag scheme included the production of a graphic propaganda video that would show staged explosions and use corpses and actors depicting grieving mourners, the spokesman claimed.

Some Chinese academics quoted in state media claimed that the US had failed to form an alliance with France and Germany against Russia and that it is was now trying to seek help from China. They said Beijing had no incentive to support the US and offend its ally Russia as the US would in any case continue to suppress and threaten China.

Russia’s Vladimir Putin and China’s Xi Jinping met in Beijing on Febraury 4, 2022. Photo: WikiCommons

The commentary comes in apparent response to White House press secretary Jen Psaki’s comment when asked about the Xi-Putin meeting that President Biden has his own relationship with China and that the US was currently working with unnamed “partners” in the event Russia invades Ukraine.

“We believe that Beijing will end up owning some of the costs of a Russian invasion of Ukraine and that they should calculate that as they consider their engagements with the Russian government over the next couple of weeks,” US national security adviser Jake Sullivan told NBC in an interview on February 6, adding that sanctions aimed at Russia could have a direct impact on the Chinese economy.

On Monday, China’s official Xinhua News Agency published an article titled “Ukraine wants to put out the fire but the US adds fuel to it”, in which it accused some unnamed US officials of telling media without providing any evidence that Russia would invade Ukraine within days or weeks.

The article said Russia had confirmed that it would not launch an attack while Ukraine officials were also trying to mollify the situation. It predicted if a war broke out in Ukraine, millions of Ukrainians would become refugees.

Communist Party mouthpiece Global Times said in a commentary that Psaki tried to alienate China from Russia by insinuating that Biden had good relations with Beijing, when that isn’t the case. It said the US wanted to portray an image that China was on its side, even as it warned that the Chinese economy would be hurt if Russia was sanctioned.

“The US has currently been suppressing China in many areas. Even if China does not support Russia, the US will not stop suppressing China,” Song Jie, a law professor at Zhejiang Gongshang University, said in another article. “If that is the case, there is no need for China to support the US and offend Russia.”

Song said Sullivan’s remarks showed the US’ weakness in the Ukraine crisis. He said in the past the US could use sanctions to suppress other countries as it had a powerful industrial supply chain. However, as China could now produce most low and mid-end products, many countries did not need to rely on the US, making its sanctions less effective than previously.

Song also said the US could not afford to fight against Russia by itself so it tried to seek help from France and Germany. He said the US failed to form an alliance against Russia as it had previously ruined its relations with France in the Australia nuclear submarine deal, while neither could the US persuade Germany to switch from Russian to US natural gas imports.

Russian troops have massed on the border with Ukraine. Photo: AFP / Anadolu Agency

A prominent Chinese blogger predicted in order to avoid being condemned by the West, Russia would not invade Ukraine directly but rather support local military forces in Eastern Ukraine to fight a proxy war. He said Russia could send mercenaries and spies to Ukraine to manipulate public opinion and that Ukraine would eventually be split into several countries.

Yet another Chinese blogger noted a scenario where Russia could deploy troops to Latin America in the US’ geographical backyard to distract its attention from Ukraine.

Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said last month that he could not rule out the possibility of Russia sending military assets to Nicaragua if the US and its allies did not curtail their military activities on Russia’s doorstep.

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Follow Jeff Pao on Twitter at @jeffpao3