China’s strategic partnership with Russia is already paying off for Xi: Putin’s Ukrainian escapade has shifted America’s focus away from Asia and toward Europe. President Biden slammed Russia on Ukraine for several minutes during his State of the Union address on Tuesday night. China was barely addressed, despite the fact that it was the source of a terrible epidemic that killed millions of people around the world.
While China’s foreign minister, Wang Yi, has publicly expressed regret about the commencement of the crisis in Ukraine, it’s worth remembering that Putin flew to Beijing just before the Winter Olympics began to meet with Xi and sign no less than 15 trade agreements, including oil and natural gas. China then opened its borders to Russian wheat, just as Putin’s panzers rolled into Ukraine. Putin agreed to postpone his invasion until the Beijing Olympics were over, and the two countries even coordinated the timing of the strike.
In other words, Putin began expanding his empire with the knowledge that the Chinese Communist Party was on his side and would help to mitigate the economic consequences that would inevitably follow the invasion.
China’s subsequent appeals for a negotiated settlement are only a show of good faith. As a result, Beijing refuses to refer to Putin’s extraordinary military action against Ukraine as an invasion.
The genuine feelings of the Beijing dictatorship are expressed loudly and clearly on social media, which is awash in pro-Putin, pro-Russia propaganda, jingoism that would not be tolerated if it did not fit the party line.
Despite Xi’s desire to see the United States, China’s main competitor in the Indo-Pacific, engulfed in a proxy war in Ukraine, the street fighting in Kviv and other cities must give the Chinese dictator pause. If Taiwanese civilians fight like Ukrainians, with three-quarters saying they would take up guns to protect their nation, the island’s takeover might cost tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of deaths and last for weeks or months.