China's President Xi Jinping meeting with Russia's President Vladimir Putin
China's President Xi Jinping meeting with Russia's President Vladimir Putin // Sergei Karpukhin

China Declares Russia the Winner in Snowden Showdown

President Obama’s cancelled meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin provided a great opportunity for China’s state-run media to high-five Russia, showcasing growing ties between the two neighbors.

“Russia has impressed the world, which views the Kremlin as the ‘winner’ and the White House as the ‘loser,’” proclaimed an unsigned editorial in the Global Times on Thursday about the decision to give immunity to NSA leaker Edward Snowden. “Moscow displayed its national characteristics of decisiveness and boldness.” China’s decision to let Snowden decamp from Hong Kong and avoid confronting America head-on “serves the long-term interests of China’s diplomacy,” the paper added, concluding that Washington, “ate dirt this time.”

A growing friendliness between Russia and China has been evident in recent months, with Xi Jinping taking his first diplomatic trip as president to the Kremlin, joint naval exercises on Japan’s front door,  joint anti-terror drills codenamed “Peace Mission 2013″ in the Urals, optimistic trade predictions, a mammoth $270 billion oil deal and even Putin’s enthusiastic nonverbal appraisal of China’s first lady.

A growing alliance between the world’s most populous country and the world’s biggest by area, who both share a political heritage and deep distrust of the West, is the stuff of American diplomatic nightmares. But Russia and China have their own contentious backstory as well, including a long, disputed border with a history of military skirmishes, and an ideological schism in the 1960s that risked nuclear war.

Read more at Quartz.

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