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How China’s Xi Jinping has a lot to lose in Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine

China has already paid some money to not publicly condemn Russia’s attack on a sovereign nation.

China’s support for Russia in the Ukrainian war is showing its limits as President Xi Jinping’s internal costs begin to outweigh the benefits of confronting the United States.

Whether it’s a trade war or a real war like the one in Ukraine, China has shown that its geopolitical struggles with the United States will try to avoid harming its internal economy. With Covid’s rapidly deteriorating situation and the need to maintain stability in a key year for Xi, it is likely that Chinese leader Vladimir Putin will allow the return of the Ukrainian invasion home.

Signs of domestic pressure were evident on Tuesday as warnings from the US against Russia’s financial and military aid to Russia heightened investors’ concerns that the world’s two largest economies could be decoupled. The Hong Kong-listed Chinese stock index plunged 6.6% since 2008, with the Shanghai Composite Index falling the most in two years. The so-called fear gauge – similar to the US VIX – has risen by 78% in the last two days.

Against this backdrop, Foreign Minister Wang Yi told his Spanish counterpart Jose Manuel Albares that Beijing wanted to avoid further damage due to sanctions affecting the global market. “China is not a party directly involved in the crisis, and does not want to be affected further by sanctions,” Wang said on Monday, according to the Foreign Ministry’s reading of their call.

The comment is in line with China’s appeals to reduce the crisis, even though Beijing is trying to blame the US for pushing the war and its diplomats are pushing for Russian conspiracy theories about Ukrainian bio-laboratories. Beijing’s actions appear to be calibrated to lead to a global confrontation or to minimize the chances of further economic drag as it seeks a way to overcome the pandemic.

“China will try to maintain its strategic cooperation with the Russian Federation while trying to offset its reputation and economic costs,” said Joseph Torigian, an assistant professor at the American University who will publish a book on power struggles between the Soviet Union and China. Josef Stalin and Mao Zedong. “China has not sacrificed its economic interests to help Russia overcome Western sanctions.”

The war in Ukraine has multiplied Xi’s challenges in the year in which Chinese political leaders pledged to put political stability first. The Communist Party leader is expected to reaffirm Maoti’s reputation as China’s strongest leader in the second half of this year before a two-decade reshuffle, in which he hopes to extend his term to 15 years to break his precedent.

This gives Xi a strong incentive to serve U.S.-directed sanctions, even though he has been hard on Washington for years and claimed “unlimited” cooperation with Moscow last month. China took a similar strategy with former US President Donald Trump during a trade war, escalating rhetoric to avoid retaliation that could harm Chinese business and industry.

A six-hour meeting between senior US and Chinese officials on Monday sparked speculation about a call between President Xi and President Joe Biden. The White House said talks in Rome between US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and top Chinese diplomat Yang Jiechi had been “remarkable” and said Beijing was “constructive”.

‘Very different world’

“The big issue now is what decisions and actions China is taking,” Singapore Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan said in an interview at the Bloomberg Live Asean Business Summit, adding that Beijing has a “tremendous impact” on Russia. “If you manage to dig deeper into the bifurcation of the global economy, supply chains, technology, this will be a very, very different world.”

On Tuesday, China’s Washington envoy to Washington said one of the clearest denials was that he had an early warning about Russia’s war. China has made “great efforts” to push for peace talks and threats from US officials that China would suffer the consequences if it were “unacceptable” in trying to help Russia avoid sanctions, Ambassador Qin Gang wrote in the Washington Post.

“The assertion that China was aware of this war, whether it affirmed or secretly accepted it, is pure misinformation,” he wrote. “If China is aware of the immediate crisis, we will try to prevent it.”

China has already paid some money to not publicly condemn Russia’s attack on a sovereign nation. The war has led to comparisons between Putin’s efforts to reclaim lost land and China’s land claims to places like Taiwan. Analysts at least blamed some of the recent downturn in China’s market for the fall of the Beijing camp in Moscow.

“China is paying close attention to its bets,” said Alexander Gabuev, a senior fellow and president of the Russia-Asia-Pacific Program at the Carnegie Moscow Center. “There is support for Russia’s legal concerns about criticism of European security architecture and NATO, but that is also a bad thing for US-led alliances.”

Xi “personally invested”

The losses China has suffered so far are palpable compared to the pain it has suffered under the unprecedented sanctions regime that has broken Russia’s currency, which has caused the exodus of foreign companies and cut Moscow’s major technology imports. This led some of China’s leading analysts, Hu Wei, vice president of the State Council’s Center for Public Policy Research, to advocate for a clear break “from Russia as soon as possible” to “save China from isolation.”

An attempt to get Hu’s advice quickly came out of China’s highly censored Internet, where comments in favor of Russia and US dwarfs reported support for Ukraine and civilian deaths. However, the piece showed that some in China were concerned that the country was moving towards four decades of economic growth driven by close ties with places like Europe, Japan and the US.

Alicia Garcia Herrero, chief economist at Natixis SA, said China’s aid to Russia could be a “poisonous pill”, warning that investors are beginning to reconcile the two. “When companies start talking about possible new projects starting in China, they now start saying,‘ Wait, I don’t want to end up investing in an autarky like Russia, ’” he said.

At the same time, the Russian invasion has put more international control on Taiwan, “more likely to have Western support there to the detriment of PRC intentions,” said Elizabeth Wishnick, a leading research scientist at the Virginia-based CNA research institute. People’s Republic of China.

“Xik has a lot to lose because he is personally investing in his relationship with Putin,” he added. “The apparent failure of Russia’s policy to bring about strategic dividends – and instead of strategic losses – would undermine its efforts to extend its mandate.”

(Except for the title, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and was published from a union feed.)

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