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Russia, China warn Biden at same time to stay out of Ukraine, Taiwan

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese leader Xi Jinping. (Official Internet Resources of the President of Russia/Released)
April 13, 2021

On Tuesday, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov warned President Joe Biden’s administration against getting involved in Ukraine, amid Russian forces massing on the Ukrainian border. Also on Tuesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian warned the Biden administration against getting involved in Taiwan.

According to Reuters, Russia’s Ryabkov said “The United States is our adversary and does everything it can to undermine Russia’s position on the world stage. We do not see any other elements in their approach. Those are our conclusions.”

Ryabkov went on to say, “We warn the United States that it will be better for them to stay far away from Crimea and our Black Sea coast. It will be for their own good.”

On the same day Ryabkov warned the U.S. and other NATO nations against supporting Ukraine, China’s Zhao warned the U.S. against “playing with fire” by interacting with Taiwan.

“The Taiwan question concerns China’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and core interests. There is zero room for compromise and not an inch to give,” Zhao said during a Tuesday press conference. “We urge the U.S. side to grasp the situation, earnestly abide by the one-China principle and the three China-US joint communiqués, refrain from playing with fire, immediately stop official contact with Taiwan in any form, prudently and properly handle Taiwan-related issues, and avoid sending any wrong signals to the ‘Taiwan independence’ forces, lest it should shake the foundation of China-US relations and peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.”

While Taiwan governs itself as an independent nation, China maintains a sovereignty claim over the island and the U.S. has recognized China’s sovereignty claim through the One-China policy, though U.S. administrations have had informal interactions with Taiwanese officials.

In December, Russia and China announced a new pact strengthening their strategic partnership, and the timing of Russia and China’s warnings to the U.S. on Tuesday is a sign of their shared interests.

Ryabkov comments come amid reports that two U.S. warships will enter the Black Sea, which neighbors Russia and Ukraine, this week. The U.S. has already provided the notice to Turkey to sail through the Bosporus Strait, satisfying a 1936 treaty condition on international warships entering the Black Sea.

“They continue to provide supplies, increasing the amount of assistance. The United States and other NATO countries are deliberately turning Ukraine into a powder keg,” Ryabkov also said, according to Russia’s TASS News Agency. “We would like to reiterate that NATO countries, who use demagogic rhetoric to speculate about protecting Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, should think about containing the bellicose spirit of their clients in Kiev and ensuring the implementation of the Minsk Package of Measures that our Kiev neighbors are blatantly ignoring.”

Biden’s Secretary of State Antony Blinken said, during a Sunday interview with NBC’s Meet The Press, that “there’ll be consequences” if Russia acts “recklessly or aggressively” against Ukraine.

The U.S. State Department also announced it would “liberalize” guidance on U.S. contacts with Taiwanese officials.

China has previously lashed out at U.S. efforts to loosen restrictions on diplomatic interactions with Taiwan. In January, then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo similarly loosened U.S. diplomatic restrictions on Taiwan interactions and then-U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Kelly Craft announced she would visit with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-Wen in Taiwan. Craft ultimately canceled her trip after China warned the U.S. would pay a heavy price for the high-level diplomatic interaction.