“China condemns Putin’s tough approach to Ukraine”
There is no doubt that the defeat of the Russian military in Ukraine is prompting Vladimir Putin not to curb his enthusiasm, but rather to intensify the threat of a disaster scenario. For now, neither the determination of the Ukrainians nor the sanctions of the West force him to listen to reason. A cursory reading of the uncertain relationship between China and Russia supports the assumption that only its so-called “friend” Xi Jinping can exert effective pressure to stop Russia’s escalation. Recently, one of the leading analysts of China, the former Prime Minister of Australia, Kevin Rudd, notes that Beijing has already drawn a red line to Moscow.
The recently held summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in Samarkand in September 2022 leaves no room for doubt as to the strength of China’s position within this coalition. This organization, which includes Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan (expanded in 2016) in addition to China and Russia, has confirmed the distance these Central Asian states hold from Moscow in terms of guardianship power.
Kazakhs were worried about their borders
The former Soviet republics are actually showing more restraint in the face of the Kremlin’s excessive powers. Kazakhs, Kyrgyz and Tajiks are regularly hated by the Russian authorities. Witness the words of the President of Tajikistan, Emomali Rahmon, who complained to Putin on October 14 that he did not respect the peoples of Central Asia. Recently, a member of the Duma argued that Kazakhstan should be denazified. The Kazakhs, who do not recognize the separatist republics of Donbass and the annexation of Crimea in 2014, refused to participate in the war. Pro-Ukraine demonstrations were allowed in the capital Nursultan. Kazakhs are already worried about their borders.
One thing is certain: in the eyes of China’s neighbor, the peoples of Central Asia really exist. By investing heavily, China has managed to gain multi-faceted access to Putin’s backyard, where about 15 million Chinese come every year. Thus, Beijing gets preferential access to the mineral resources of Central Asia. A powerful symbol: it was at Kazakhstan’s Astana University that Xi Jinping announced the “new Silk Road” project in 2013. Russia has now weakened itself on the Asian side.
Competition with the United States
However, the ideological bond based on a shared struggle against American arrogance is hard to compromise. The two modes are at the same wavelength. Authoritarian model is better than democracy. However, on paper “Friendship with Russia is as strong as a rock”As China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi reminded us, there are signs of will“Deepen relations with Russia” more like a partnership of convenience. According to Mercator research, China will not support Russia’s flag economy. Xi Jinping did not support the Kremlin’s war effort and never mentioned military support.
In fact, Xi Jinping needs to secure his assets and customers first. Internally, he faces great difficulties. Many economic and social indicators turned red. He is aware that if he does not want to miss what the sinologists say “China’s moment in history”, should protect investors and increase its influence. A very tense conflict between Russia and Europe could be a barrier to exports. The European Union is its first partner and most profitable customer.
Beijing’s obsession with competing with the United States remains. The latter recently threatened to stop supplying the Chinese with semiconductors. Moreover, the instability the war brought to the energy and grain markets clearly did not sit well with the communist leader. In short, for Beijing, Russia is a false friend. Historian Timothy Snyder believes that these unbalanced relations eventually led to a “Hyper dependence”: “Russian power will willingly give the Chinese what they want”.
Call to order
Almost eight months after the start of the war, the call for discipline is in the interest of the Chinese official. “China cannot develop without the world, and the world cannot develop without China” Xi Jinping announced at the end of the 20th Congress of the Chinese Communist Party that his mandate was renewed on October 16.
Have Chinese leaders already admitted that Putin is no longer a credible actor? Chinese rhetoric shows this. The national press now uses the term“Invasion of Ukraine”. For Gao Yusheng, former Chinese ambassador to Kyiv “Putin’s forces are headed for a defeat that could consign his great power status to the past”.
China finally has good reason to dislike the Kremlin’s thugs. It educates the absolute principle of inviolability of borders. Thanks to this guaranteeing principle the unity of china, no diplomacy questions the membership of Tibet and Xinjiang in China. Thus, Russia’s violation of the unity of Ukraine is clearly against this doctrine. If Xi Jinping intends to become the grand watchmaker of globalization through nationalistic and commercial opportunism, it is in his interest to ring a bell for Putin and remind him of the principle of border integrity. The fact is that only Ukraine will decide when the war will end, when all its territory will be reoccupied.