Hong Kong, March 15 (ANI): There are many speculations about the strategic relationship between China and Russia, and the degree of knowledge that President Xi Jinping had before President Vladimir Putin began his deplorable invasion of Ukraine.
This war turns out to be fraught with risks for China, which puts Beijing in a difficult relationship as it tries to juggle the support of its ally while pretending to be neutral.
As the saying of the Ministry of Truth in George Orwell’s classic book Nineteen Eighty-Four went, “War is peace; Freedom is slavery; Ignorance is strength”. These are the kind of absurd contradictions that Beijing is trying to get away with and obscure the truth. In fact, China can not even bring itself to describe Putin’s game as an “invasion” or “war.”
China has made great efforts to present itself as neutral in this conflict, but it is clear that it is not easy to follow such a line. Russian hotspots are happily repeated by Chinese officials, one example being the ridiculous notion that the United States has biological warfare laboratories in Ukraine.
Zhang Jun, China’s ambassador to the United Nations (UN), told the General Assembly: “The situation has developed to a point that China does not want to see. It is not in the interests of any party.” This comment went further than any other Chinese official has gone and sounded positive.
But the same ambassador also pointed out that “intensifying unilateral sanctions” was more “deeply worrying” than the intensified invasion of an independent country. “War is peace; Freedom is slavery; Ignorance is strength”.
China’s twisted thinking forces it to be creative in its verbal gymnastics when defending the indefensible. A key principle that China cannot reconcile is the inviolable nature of sovereign territories, which they love to preach about. In addition, it denies all who engage in the internal affairs of others. Nevertheless, Russia has violated both China’s cardinal rules and has not received any criticism from Beijing. How can Beijing be so hypocritical? Thus, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told the Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba in a telephone conversation: “Security in one country should not be achieved at the expense of security in other countries, and regional security can not be achieved by expanding military blocs.” These are empty words, because Xi refuses to criticize Putin, not only that, but Beijing has supported Putin’s story that Russia is the insulted party, that NATO is a guilty party and that Ukraine has meritoriously carried out this attack on itself. on the internet, for example, or on the world stage, China has firmly protected Russia from criticism.
In February, during the Beijing Winter Olympics, China and Russia signed a strategic agreement for a partnership that has “no borders”. That seems to be the case, even when one of the parties deliberately invades another nation.
China and Russia do not implicitly trust each other, but their leaders, who have met 38 times since 2013, have built a relationship. They truly share values such as rejecting human rights, seeking imperialist expansion and wanting to leave a legacy as strong leaders who monitored their nation’s rise to the right place in the world.
The two countries really share similar ambitions to override and diminish the Western world, especially the United States. Apart from bland calls for negotiations, there is no evidence that Xi has put any pressure on Putin to end the conflict.
Those who urge Xi to help mediate a ceasefire are simply naive. China’s principles are no better than Russia’s, and it has the same militaristic ambitions for Taiwan as Putin does for Ukraine.
Interestingly, a report in the Financial Times quoted US intelligence officials as saying that Moscow may have approached Beijing to procure military equipment and supplies for use in Ukraine. It is impossible to confirm this, but as Putin’s war enters its third week, the Russian military has made much slower progress than expected and has suffered colossal losses.
In the case of armored vehicles, for example, the Russian army has already lost more than the equivalent of the entire British army’s entire armored vehicle fleet. If China were to offer such open support, it would underline Chinese involvement. It is difficult to see what benefit it would bring to China, as it would turn the Ukraine conflict into a proxy war involving China.
Jake Sullivan, the US National Security Adviser, will meet with China’s Yang Jiechi in Rome on March 14. Before leaving Sullivan, he warned China to “save” Russia by circumventing Western sanctions.
One week after the Olympics, the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) top leadership disappeared from public view. Presumably, the seven members of the Political Bureau’s Standing Committee (PSC) discussed the nascent Ukraine crisis and how to play it.
Being on Putin’s side might have paid off if Russia had broken through Ukraine militarily, and NATO and the United States had shown weakness and internal disagreement. But the longer the conflict lasts, the heavier the price for China, and it becomes more difficult to invoke neutrality.
It is unknown at this time what he will do after leaving the post. Xi’s leadership style is top-down, and he has dismantled the collective leadership model since taking the reins of power. If the PSC were to demand a change in policy regarding Ukraine, this would mean a personal defeat for Xi.
A year ago, Xi declared: “The East is rising, and the West is in decline.” However, he may have been too early with such a conclusion. In fact, China may have ignored or missed all the danger signals, so serious was Xi when it came to Russia.
Kurt Campbell, the United States’ senior coordinator for Indo-Pacific Policy at the National Security Council, said: “It is undeniable that China is currently engaging in a difficult relationship in which it is trying to maintain its deep and fundamental relationship with Russia.” Campbell added that China chose to not weigh in on US-led deterrence of any Russian invasion.
General Kenneth Wilsbach, commander of the US Pacific Air Forces, also reflected on the Xi-Putin summit in early February: “I would like to know what happened there because we have clearly seen Russia invade. He lied to Xi because he spread it. Russian disinformation? Was he deceived by the Russians? Or was he just wrong? “In addition, CIA chief William Burns commented,” I think … they have been surprised and worried to some extent by what they have seen in Ukraine in recent years. “12 days, everything from the strength of the Western reaction to the way in which Ukrainians have resisted violently.” An ongoing war will also harm China economically. Last year, China imported 320 million tonnes of coal, 512.98 million tonnes of crude oil and 121.36 million tonnes of natural gas. This represented an increase of 19.9% on an annual basis, which cemented China as the world’s largest energy consumer. The cost of oil and transportation – essential for China’s factories – will pay off.
Although China can buy Russian agricultural and energy exports, it still largely follows Western financial sanctions, as Beijing fears losing access to the dollar-based global trading system.
China’s military has often turned to Ukraine for military technology as well. The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) received its first aircraft carrier from Ukraine, even though at that time equipment had been confiscated. It also provided plans for the Su-33 aircraft, on which it based its J-15 carrier-based fighter aircraft. Engines for JL-10 trainer jet planes, tanks and amphibious vehicles have come from Ukraine, as have the first 30 turbines for type 052D fighters (the turbines are now licensed in China).
Chinese missile command systems probably also originated in Ukraine. In addition, Ukraine has also been a fertile hunting ground for China to employ various technical experts. So there will be a price for PLA from this war.
It was never likely that China would use the protection of the Ukraine War to attempt an invasion of Taiwan. Still, China will learn many lessons from the Ukraine conflict. Thus, Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Joseph Wu warned on day 12 of the Russian invasion: “I think China’s leaders … are monitoring the situation and trying to draw their own conclusions. The danger is that if they think the Western world’s response to the Russian invasion is weak and ineffective , they could take it as a positive sign [for an invasion of Taiwan]”One lesson is the danger of underestimating the determination of people defending their homeland. Certainly Xi failed to predict the strength of emotions among Hong Kongers when he tried to limit their freedoms. This was a big blunder by Xi, even though Hong Kong people are among the world’s most pragmatic. Taiwan may well face violent resistance from Ukraine.
Another lesson is how Russian aggression helped create unexpected unity in Europe and around the world in support of Ukraine. International companies have completely withdrawn from the Russian market and would probably do the same in China. Like Russia, many UN countries would condemn China for any unprovoked Chinese attack on Taiwan.
Russian actions against Ukraine are forcing Finland and Sweden to seriously consider joining NATO. Similarly, continued Chinese aggression could force other Asian counties even closer into alliances with the United States. If China continues to support Russia, this will further alert Southeast Asian nations that are already concerned about Chinese warfare.
One worrying lesson that Chinese strategists can take is the need for overwhelming firepower at the beginning of a conflict. Any invasion of Taiwan would not be as restrained as Russia’s was, as the PLA could pursue a much more powerful and aggressive doctrine.
The CCP insists that Taiwan is part of China and that its fate is therefore a domestic issue. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said: “Taiwan is an integral part of China’s territory, and the Taiwan issue is entirely China’s internal affairs.” He called it a “naked double standard” to confuse Taiwanese and Ukrainian issues.
Of course, this is how the CCP tries to disguise itself from the fact that it is militarily bullying an independent nation. Wang claimed: “We have seen some people emphasize the principle of sovereignty in the Ukraine issue, but continue to undermine China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity in the Taiwan issue.” He accused Taiwan of current tensions because it refuses to be part of China. In fact, Taiwan has never in its history been ruled by the CCP.
Regardless of what is happening now in Ukraine, Russia has been incredibly weakened. Its GDP was already only one-sixth of China’s, and new sanctions will only make up the difference. Moscow has been banned from the world stage and, more than ever, Russia will be subordinate to China. Beijing may even demand a steeper price for such things as technical and military transfers.
This war could make Russia just a larger version of North Korea in terms of its relations with China. Significantly, however, China has never abandoned North Korea, no matter how much Pyongyang has antagonized others. China will probably support Russia in the same way. Xi absolutely does not want Putin overthrown, so he will continue to support his neighbor as much as he can get away with. Historically, China has been skeptical of having a militarily strong Russia at its border, but Russia’s force is seeping away.
China is trying to portray itself as a responsible global leader, but this image is being polluted daily, as are Beijing’s relations with Europe. If China is to be seen as part of an axis alongside Russia, this will mean a serious diplomatic and economic setback. China does not want to be more isolated for having thrown its weight behind Moscow, and so its line of action continues. (ANI)