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In brotherly act with Putin, Xi reveals China's fear of containment


Rather than focus on a solution to the war in Ukraine, the Chinese leader's visit to Moscow reinforced China's and Russia's shared opposition to US rule.

Chinese leader

Xi Jinping

flew to Moscow this week presented by Beijing as his envoy for peace in Ukraine.

However, his summit with Russian President

Vladimir Putin

showed that his priority remains strengthening ties with Moscow to deal with what he sees as a long-running US campaign to curb China's rise.

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a joint statement with Chinese President Xi Jinping after their talks at the Kremlin in Moscow.

Talks on Ukraine were overshadowed by Xi's staunch solidarity with Russia as a political, diplomatic, economic



partner :

two superpowers aligned to counter American dominance and the Western-led world order.

The summit signaled Xi's intent to entrench Beijing's leaning on Moscow in the face of what he recently called a US effort to fully "


" China.

Xi and Putin used the pageantry of the three-day state visit that ended on Wednesday to signal to their respective audiences and to Western capitals that the link between their two countries remained strong and, in their eyes, indispensable, 13


after Putin launched his invasion of Ukraine.

The two laid out their worldview in a nine-point joint statement that spanned everything from Taiwan to climate change to relations with Mongolia, often portraying the United States as the obstacle to a better and fairer world.

"It looks like a strategic plan for a decade or even more.

It's not a knee-jerk reaction to the Ukrainian war," said Alexander Korolev, a professor at the University of New South Wales in Australia who studies Sino-Russian relations.

He highlighted the statement's repeated criticism of the United States:

"The threat is no longer implicit and hypothetical;

it is very explicit


Discussion of China's murky proposal to end the war in Ukraine only appeared in the last section of their joint statement, which offered no concrete details on the way forward.

In a warning to Western countries that support Ukraine, he said that any solution to the crisis must "


the formation of confrontational blocs that add fuel to the fire."

Instead, the leaders discussed plans to improve economic cooperation and attract more Chinese investors to Russia.

They declared their admiration for each other's authoritarian regime, and Xi went so far as to endorse Putin for another term in power, signaling to the Russians that he was sure they should support Putin in elections a year from now.

"Xi Jinping launched Putin's re-election campaign," said Maria Repnikova, a Georgia State University professor who studies political communication in China and Russia.

"It seems like an important sign that underscores the extent of their friendship and that they are really supporting Putin."

But while Xi wanted to show China's commitment to Russia, he stopped short of signing a blank check supporting Putin.

Although Putin claimed that a new pipeline to supply natural gas to China would be completed by 2030, Xi

did not confirm the deal.

China has also calibrated the language used to describe its relationship with Russia.

When Xi and Putin issued a joint statement last year, three weeks before Russia invaded Ukraine, they had said that Beijing and Moscow had a "

boundless friendship


This time, they tried to

draw clearer lines

, declaring that they do not maintain a traditional political and military alliance.

Xi and other Chinese officials have also generally avoided reviving such "unlimited friendship" rhetoric, even as Putin continued to use it.

Still, the token support that Xi and Putin offered each other will have its own value for each leader, said Repnikova, the Georgia State University scholar.

He noted that the two countries' major state broadcasters have also signed an agreement to share

historical content,

underscoring their shared interest in inoculating their populations against Western political influences.

"It is a sign that, although limited, it is still a very important partnership:

China is not alone in facing the West, and Russia certainly has China's support," he said.

Xi and Putin's media operators have portrayed their relationship as a brotherly bond, cemented over vodka shots, birthday cakes and ice cream during more than 40 meetings.

But Xi's calculation on Russia is not based on sentiment.

It is based on

China's broader

strategic calculations , which are likely to remain fixed, whatever the outcome of the upcoming spring battles in Ukraine.

In Xi's view, expressed recently in unusually blunt terms, the United States is carrying out "total containment, encirclement and suppression of China," a campaign of sanctions and diplomatic pressure that he says has presented the country with "serious challenges without precedents".

To counter Western pressure, Xi wants to give Putin the political and economic support his partnership warrants, even if China does not want to meddle in Russia's war in Ukraine.

"Xi is making a significant gesture of political support for Putin with this trip, essentially showing that the relationship will be resilient even in these strained circumstances and that he is willing to live with the opprobrium of the West," said Andrew Small, the author of

" No limits: The Inside Story of China's War With the West".

Beijing had indicated that Xi would help promote Russia-Ukraine talks as part of his visit, after Western powers urged China to use its influence on Russia to stop the war.

But in the end, Small said, "there was even


'peace mission' simulation than Chinese diplomats had previously reported."

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida

's visit

to Kiev this week in support of Ukraine, coinciding with Xi's talks with Putin, looks set to deepen China's view that the war has turned into a global war


Beijing as well. .

Strong relations with Russia have become more crucial for China as its ties with the United States have soured.

A succession of events since last year appears to have hardened Xi's


of Washington, even as he tried to stabilize relations with President Joe Biden.

Chinese officials have pointed to US restrictions on China's access to advanced semiconductors that are needed for everything from supercomputing to weapons development.

They have also condemned moves by the United States and Britain to help


build nuclear-powered submarines, in order to counter China's military buildup.

Following the conclusion of Xi's state visit, Chinese Foreign Minister

Qin Gang

released a statement about its importance, stating:

"The main contradiction in the world today is not the so-called 'confrontation between democracy and authoritarianism' that a handful of countries have interpreted, but the struggle between development

and the containment of development


"Beijing is trying to stress to a largely domestic audience that the United States is engaged in a multi-domain, multi-directional, multi-stakeholder effort to actively inhibit China's continued rise," said Jude Blanchette, holder of the Freeman Chair in China Studies at the Center of Strategic and International Studies in Washington.

Xi's term of "comprehensive containment" is meant to sum up "an effort to curb Chinese growth,

block its access to

cutting-edge technologies and erode China's ties with neighboring countries," Blanchette said.

According to this worldview, Ukraine, rather than being the victim of a war unprovoked by Russia, found itself locked in a proxy battle by the United States and its allies against Moscow - and, by extension, Beijing - aimed at reasserting dominance. american world cup

This theme is echoed in many recent assessments of the conflict by Chinese state institutes and analysts from the People's Liberation Army.

"The outbreak of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine was the inevitable result of the US government's long-term strategy," Yang Guanghai, a professor at China's National University of Defense Technology, wrote in a recent study on the war.

"The position of the United States to exploit Ukraine as a


will not change.

Like Russia, China is also a prime target of the US 'great power competition' strategy."

So Xi's willingness to try to mediate between Kiev and Moscow is likely to remain severely constrained by his broader commitment to

stay close to Russia and Putin.

next steps

Following his meeting with Putin, Xi may contact Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

It would be Xi's first call with the leader since the invasion began.

Even if he does, the peace proposal China has outlined is unlikely to win kyiv's favor because it implicitly echoes official Russian grievances with NATO that could limit Ukraine's claims.

In their joint statement, Xi and Putin criticized NATO's efforts to pay more attention to Asia.

The leaders highlighted the China-Russia relationship as superior to traditional Western military blocs because it is "mature, stable, independent and resilient."

The official Chinese news agency,


, published an article explaining why the two countries would not want to establish a formal alliance that would force them to help each other in wars.

Some readers were not convinced.

"We are not allies in name only," read one reader's comment.

c.2023 The New York Times Company

look also

Xi Jinping in Russia: a visit that destroys any peace attempt in Ukraine

China helps resupply drones to Russia

Source: clarin

All news articles on 2023-03-23

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