Why China has not stayed away from alliance with Russia
China claims to be neutral in Russia’s war in Ukraine, but this neutrality is easy to see: Beijing refuses to criticize Russia for violating Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and blames the United States and NATO for inciting the war. till now, “Extensive strategic partnership of coordination for a new era“Between Russia and China, completed in 2019 and reaffirmed during the most recent bilateral summit on February 4, has been rapid throughout the war.
But is there no “limit” to this partnership, as President Xi and Putin have claimed in their joint statement? Of China Ambassador to Washington, Kin Gang, helpful Explained that the partnership, despite no limits, is bound by the United Nations Charter. Yet the charter explicitly forbids the use of force except for self-defense purposes, and Russia is waging its war (war of aggression, if ever) on Ukrainian territory, while China – which has completed a strategic partnership with Ukraine. In 2011, as well – looks the other way. Thus, in the eyes of China, even the violation of the most basic principles of international law and the UN Charter is not an obstacle to the continuation of the partnership.
So will China think twice about a partnership with Russia? The cold answer is: China’s interest, as perceived by the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party. In order to navigate its relations with Russia, Beijing will pursue its interests through a “maximin” strategy: it will try to get the most out of its war with Russia, Ukraine and its confrontation with the West, but at least for China the negative fallout from this confrontation.
The most important partnership aimed at supporting the Sino-Russian partnership is a desire to reclaim US influence in the world and to improve what it sees as both a Western-dominated international system. In their hostility to Washington and in their decision to restore the current international order to suit their own preferences, Moscow and Beijing turn a blind eye. This provides ample opportunities for cooperation, with Russia having significant assets to offer: its permanent seat in the UN Security Council and its veto power, its military might and weapons techniques, its expertise in exploiting cyberspace for destructive purposes, and its diplomatic reach and Experience. .
By coordinating their respective capabilities, Russia and China can increase their influence over the Western stronghold of influence, as they have already shown repeatedly – in joint military exercises, in parallel and possibly integrated cyber attacks, and in their voting behavior at the United Nations. Whether the Ukraine war will weaken the United States and the West, or rather strengthen it, as many in China believe, is still an open question, although it could ultimately weaken both Russia and the West, and thus strengthen Beijing’s position. Can create. – Against Washington.
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It is difficult to see how Russia can benefit from this war in any way. For China, this would make Russia a declining asset, but it would also increase its dependence on China. This would benefit China commercially, economically and possibly politically, as Moscow would be bound to heed China’s wishes. Russia’s aggressive imperialism may also prompt Central Asian countries to lean more towards China as a counterweight to Russia’s domineering influence.
In the face of these advantages, Beijing will have to weigh the shortcomings of its strategic partnership with Russia. China’s reluctance to distance itself from Putin’s war in Ukraine has clearly damaged China’s reputation, especially in Europe. While Western sanctions against Russia have opened up opportunities for China Import more Russian oil, gas and wheat at bargain prices, They also hurt Chinese companies that could be caught in the third-party effects of those sanctions; As a result, many of them have become Cautious in their dealings with RussiaSo as not to openly violate sanctions.
More worrying than the direct impact of sanctions on Russia on China could be their impact on the global economy. Deficits in Russian and Ukrainian exports of fossil fuels, grains and minerals have begun to disrupt world markets, spill prices and create friction in the supply chain; This is a bad sign for world economic performance, hence China’s exports and growth. Politically, Putin’s aggression over the war in Ukraine has united NATO under US leadership, fast His focus shifted to the “China challenge.” And the Indo-Pacific region, and The new Cold War advanced Between Western democracy and dictatorship (or totalitarian) Sino-Russian tandem. Washington’s campaign to stem China’s rise has thus gained momentum and strengthened ties with its traditional allies in Europe and Asia-Pacific.
Yet the biggest concern for Beijing should be the fact that Russia, under Vladimir Putin, has shown a tendency to create unrest through negligence and war. His propensity for unpredictable destruction creates instability at home and abroad, as Putin shows no interest in creating and sustaining a functioning political system beyond his own will. Xi, on the other hand, adopts a long-term strategy for the rise of China, aimed at the 100th anniversary of the founding of the PRC in 2049. For this, China needs local and international stability, hence the need for a functioning global system. In addition, Putin’s ultra-nationalist Eurasian ideological agenda And racist imperialism, which focuses on Russia’s sacred mission and cult of war, is quite different from the CCP leadership. This could easily conflict with China’s interests, especially in Central Asia, where China wants and needs political stability.
For now, the differences between Russia and China are blurred behind the front lines of relations between the two powerful peoples of Moscow and Beijing, who choose and trust each other – or pretend. Yet in pursuit of its maximum strategy, Beijing will weigh its geopolitical ambitions to undermine US dominance against its economic interests. The result is that Beijing’s pro-Russian neutrality will continue. That would mean a weaker Russia, more dependent on China and therefore perhaps more capable of influencing Beijing. However, it will not be able to bring China to bear its weight behind its efforts to end the war and thus fulfill its responsibility as a global power.