Chinese President Xi Jinping met with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday during a state visit to Moscow, the first day of a three-day visit, with the two leaders presenting a united front and describing each other as “dear friends.”
Xi is playing the role of peacekeeper as he reportedly seeks to strike a deal to end hostilities between Russia and Ukraine, prompting Putin to speak glowingly of China’s “colossal leap forward.”
In the eyes of many, that “leap forward” comes at the expense of U.S. leadership in the world, or lack thereof, and Fox News correspondent Peter Doocy grilled National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby about this at Monday’s White House press briefing.
“Russia and China — it seems like these two superpowers are teaming up now against the U.S. Why did President Biden let this happen?” Doocy asked.
"Do you think Putin and Xi fear President Biden?" Fox News' Peter Doocy asked Monday following the Russian and Chinese leaders meeting in Moscow. "It's not about fear," NSC Coordinator John Kirby said. pic.twitter.com/2rrp1OeQzh
— Newsweek (@Newsweek) March 20, 2023
“These are two countries that have long chafed… at U.S. leadership around the world and the network of alliances and partnerships that we have,” Kirby replied. “This is not something that these two countries just cooked up since President Biden got elected.”
Doocy pressed, pointing out that Biden has “talked tough” since being elected, adding that the president “tried to pressure Putin and Xi to act right or risk their standing on the world stage.” He then asked, “Does he see now that they don’t care?
“I think if you ask a lot of Russians, they certainly care,” Kirby said. “I mean, this — their economy is — is barely being propped up by some pretty radical measures by Mr. Putin. Their military has been roundly embarrassed inside Ukraine, and they continue to lose ground there.”
“And as for China, again, take a look at the way the president has really revitalized and restored alliances and partnerships that were let go, if not ridiculed, in the previous administration. We have prioritized them,” he continued. “And there’s no other nation around the world that has this alliance and partnership network that we do. Five of our seven treaty alliances are in the Indo-Pacific and President Biden has prioritized each and every one of them.”
This prompted an interesting exchange, with Kirby stopping short of saying China and Russia have any reason to fear Joe Biden.
Doocy asked, “Specific to these two leaders, though, do you think that Putin and Xi fear President Biden?”
“You’d have to ask them whether they fear or they not,” the NSC spokesperson replied.
“Should they?” the Fox News reporter asked.
“It is not about fear. It’s about President Biden advancing our foreign policy goals around the world,” Kirby answered. “It’s about President Biden revitalizing these alliances and partnerships. It’s about President Biden and what he’s doing to preserve our national security interests around the world. That’s what we’re focused on.”
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