China still has much to gain from its current relationship with Russia, even as the invasion of Ukraine drags on, making Russia an international pariah and threatening to taint China’s reputation as well.
“China has indeed redoubled its support for Putin’s war effort, and we saw this, for example, last month when China’s third-rank leader went to Moscow, spoke to the State Duma and, in very clear, expressed Beijing’s support for Russia,” Gordon Change, author of “The Coming Collapse of China,” told Fox News Digital.
“After, [we] Seeing Jinping himself when he was in Uzbekistan for the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit actually confirmed that endorsement,” Chang added. “The only conclusion we can come to is that Beijing is not walking away from Russia.”
The Sino-Russian dynamic remains worrisome for the United States even before the invasion of Ukraine began in March 2022. Beijing bought about 100 metric tons of Russian coal in the run-up to the invasion and relaxed imports of Russian wheat. , all of which helped provide Russia with much-needed cash as Western sanctions hit hard and fast.
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But the invasion did not end as quickly as many hoped, and Ukraine has continued to make strides that seemed unbelievable when the invasion began, from retaking key strategic points around Kyiv to pushing Russia back and forcing Moscow to focus only on the easternmost Donbas. . region.
Despite the reputational damage that continued association with Russia could cause, especially as war crimes allegations continue to mount and Russian men flee the country to avoid Putin’s recruitment, China still benefits from its relationship with Moscow.
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Chief among those benefits is the ongoing effort to continue upgrading and modernizing the Chinese military, which Beijing has accomplished by working to “reverse engineer Russia,” according to Miles Yu, senior fellow and director of the China Center at the Hudson Institute.
China would obtain Russian weapon and vehicle designs and weapons by buying them or, in some cases, going to the Ukraine to buy the older models and figure out how to build their own, all to help build a better Chinese military.
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And many of China’s adversaries in Asia happen to be allies of Russia, meaning the two countries are working to balance their interests and try to take each other out without giving too much away.
But China also seems to want it “both ways” and will target “post-war reconstruction in Ukraine,” where Beijing can regain influence and control by providing Ukraine with much of what it will need to rebuild.
China’s main goal remains expanding its influence, no matter how far it may go: Chinese President Xi Jinping has worked to grow the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, a multinational trade organization that Beijing and Moscow co-created with China. the former Soviet states in Asia. Iran recently joined the group, adding another foreign firebrand to the ranks.
Xi will be sworn in for an unprecedented third term as chairman of the Chinese Communist Party, but his ambitions could still end up hurting his party in the long run, according to Chang.
“We don’t know what’s going on inside China [as] the regime is becoming less transparent over time,” Chang explained. “Certainly there are signs that top Chinese leaders are not happy with Xi Jinping’s unconditional support for Vladimir Putin, but Xi has the power to silence dissenting voices.”
“At some point, one would think that, for a variety of reasons, Xi will lose influence: It’s not just Ukraine, it’s not just so-called wolf warrior diplomacy, but China loses friends around the world,” Chang continued. “It’s not just domestic problems that Xi is the author of: it’s all together.”
“At some point, the Chinese political system will do what is rational, and that is to get rid of Jinping, but we are not there yet.”