In an opinion piece in China Daily on April 7, China’s ambassador to Moscow Zhang Hanhui said: “The more the world changes, the more chaotic it is and the more significant the great friendship between China and Russia is.”
The cooperation has caused rising concern for some Western leaders. Speaking on March 25, French President Emmanuel Macron warned Russia and China could use their vaccines to exert influence over the developing world, in “a world war of a new type.”
Thomas Bollyky, director of the Global Health Program at the Council for Foreign Relations, said many developing nations were “desperate” for vaccines.
But Bollyky said while there might be some concern from the US government over any political influence China and Russia might be gaining from their rollouts, at the end of the day “the world needs more vaccines.”
“My only concern with the China vaccine and Russia’s vaccine is they still haven’t released the underlying clinical trial data too assess their safety and effectiveness,” he said.
Former diplomat Lo said while it was hard to know if the closeness would remain in the long term, for now both Xi and Putin were being brought together by the growing Western opposition to their governments. Under President Joe Biden, the US has increasingly focused on building coalitions of friendly nations to put pressure on Beijing and Moscow.
“For the time being, the US is so evidently, for both Moscow and Beijing, the clear and present danger,” he said.