Asia-Pacific News

China: Don’t rush to blame Russia for MH17

Is China defending Russia over MH17?

While the West ramps up pressure on Russia and its President Vladimir Putin over the downing of a Malaysia Airlines jetliner over eastern Ukraine, Moscow is finding some support from the East.

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Since the weekend Chinese media have been highly critical of the approach of Western nations such as the U.S., saying in editorials that these countries have been too quick to point fingers at Moscow-backed rebels and implicate Russia for escalating violence.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jingping attend a welcoming ceremony on May 20, 2014 in Shanghai, China.
Sasha Mordovets | Getty Images

State news agency Xinhua has called U.S. and Australian officials "rash" to blame Russia before the conclusion of a thorough investigation of the downing of MH17. It said the top priority is for countries to cooperate to "find out the real culprits, if any". The Communist Party-backed newspaper, The Global Times, said Monday, "The premature trial by Western media is not based on known facts and logic."

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The comments are a signal that, despite historical differences and mistrust between China and Russia, the two powers are increasingly finding common ground. Both are currently going through strained relations with the West and are accused of engaging in aggressive foreign policy that could destabilize their regionsRussia in Ukraine and China in the East and South China Seas. Yet both are in need of diplomatic and economic support—a key reason for Russian President Vladimir Putin's pivot East. Even if the two may not see eye to eye on the price of gas, neither will criticize the other on political affairs.

In a weekend editorial, China's Global Times sided with Russia's perspective on the Ukraine conflict. "The real culprit to blame, in fact, is the chaotic situation in Ukraine following the Crimea crisis," it reads. "The Western countries have been active in advocating and supporting the 'democratic revolution' in Ukraine, so as to lure the country to become the frontier outpost of the West's geopolitical expansion. Ukraine has paid a huge price."

In China's eyes, the West bears responsibility for troubles in Ukrainea view that shows Russia is not alone even as it becomes increasingly isolated.

By CNBC's Eunice Yoon