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Xi Jinping’s warm embrace of Putin in China shows contempt for the West

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A few days after returning from a trip to Europe where he Speech on the need to contain RussiaChinese leader Xi Jinping used his summit with President Vladimir V. Putin to convey an uncomfortable reality to the West: His support for Putin remains steadfast.

Xi Jinping’s talks with Putin this week demonstrated the two dictators’ unity in resisting Western pressure. The two leaders issued a lengthy statement condemning what they saw as U.S. interference and bullying and laying out their positions on China’s assertion of autonomy over Taiwan and Russia’s “legitimate security interests” in Ukraine.

They pledged to expand economic and military ties, emphasizing Mr. Putin comes to visit to a cutting-edge Chinese defense research institute.Xi Jinping has even launched a Cheeks hugging each other He said goodbye to Putin after a walk at the Chinese Communist Party leadership compound in Beijing on Thursday night.

Western leaders looked for signs of any major differences between Xi Jinping and Putin, particularly over the war in Ukraine, but found none. Neither the risk of alienating Europe, a major trading partner needed to help revive China’s struggling economy, nor the U.S. threat to impose sanctions on Chinese banks aiding Russia’s war effort appear to have stopped Xi Jinping from embracing Putin.

“Putin and Xi Jinping’s primary goal is to fight back against what they perceive to be an existential enemy, which is the United States and the U.S.-led international order,” he said. Alicia BachuskaExpert on Chinese foreign policy at the European Council on Foreign Relations. For China, “Yes, there are tensions with the West, but those tensions will not lead to any qualitative changes in China’s approach to the war in Russia and Ukraine.”

In other words, analysts say, Xi Jinping has viewed potential sanctions and tariffs as an acceptable cost of his strategic partnership with Russia. For Xi Jinping, Putin is an indispensable friend, helping to reshape the global order in China’s favor.The more Washington pushes back — including on trade Latest tariffs The more Xi Jinping feels that his choice has been recognized.

“Moscow’s strategic value to Xi Jinping will only increase as the geopolitical competition with the United States becomes more intense,” Jude BlanchettChina expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies

For Xi Jinping and Putin, what matters most is what they call the “democratization of international relations”—essentially reducing U.S. dominance and empowering non-aligned and rogue states around a common view of the West. Dissatisfied and united.

Their joint statement this week laid out their vision for a new global order. In this agreement, NATO or the U.S. security alliance in Asia will not interfere with their territorial claims to Ukraine or Taiwan; the United States cannot bully other countries through sanctions because the dollar will no longer be the world’s trade reserve currency; dictatorship Countries will have the right to rule “according to their own national conditions”, unencumbered by universal values ​​such as human rights and social equality.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has intensified this attempt to reshape the world. The war has become a way for the anti-Western axis to fight back against the United States and its allies. Russia’s war machine is bolstered by Chinese semiconductors and other dual-use technology; North Korean missiles and artillery shells; and Iranian drones. The war offers Russia, China, North Korea and Iran an opportunity to deepen military coordination and evade sanctions by promoting trade outside the U.S.-dominated financial system. This could be useful in any future conflict with the United States.

Xi Jinping may have had “Questions and concernsTalk of a war in Ukraine began early on, when it became clear that Russia was unable to achieve a quick and decisive victory. Putin was outraged when he hinted at the use of tactical nuclear weapons, a red line for China. He faced a difficult task— — some say paradoxically — trying to keep China neutral in the war to maintain stable relations with the West while continuing its alliance with Moscow.

But for Xi Jinping, the tables may be turning.Russian army is get along with Seizing momentum around Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, before Ukrainian forces receive billions of dollars worth of U.S. weapons supplies. Both Ukrainian and U.S. officials have warned of dire consequences if Ukrainian forces continue to be outnumbered in personnel and weapons.

“The more the war in Ukraine tilts toward Moscow, the more Xi Jinping sees China’s support for Russia as effective,” Blanchett said.

Meanwhile, the threat of European tariffs on Chinese electric cars could grow this week after German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson warned against following the U.S. in imposing tariffs on Chinese electric cars. weakening, which is a major concern for Beijing. Chinese cars. “It’s not good to disrupt global trade,” Christerson said, highlighting divisions within Europe over how to deal with China.

“The idea of ​​economic retaliation against China is very scary to many European policymakers,” said Ms. Bachuska of the European Council on Foreign Relations. “There is definitely a mindset shift happening in European capitals that sees China as a strategic competitor, but that doesn’t necessarily translate into the ability or the political will to act.”

Analysts say Xi Jinping’s seemingly unwavering support for Putin, regardless of the cost it might cost China in its relationship with the West, signals his focus on forging authoritarian partnerships to counter U.S. economic and ideological power, giving China growth agenda. . This may be a serious and short-sighted misjudgment.

“Xi Jinping thinks this is a good trade for China. He is exchanging an isolated, declining Russia that he can control for an America that he cannot control.” wrote Michael Schuman is a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council.

“The problem is that Xi Jinping is working with a $25 trillion China needs advanced technology for its economy two trillion dollars The economy is just a gas station,” he added. “It’s not a good deal. “

To keep the partnership strong, Putin must remain in power and avoid a humiliating defeat in Ukraine. Xi Jinping may do what he can to support Putin, but he will ultimately be guided only by China’s best interests.

Natasha Coulter, a security expert at the Department of War Studies at King’s College London, said Xi was preparing for any outcome in Ukraine. If Russia wins, he will offer to help rebuild Ukraine, as outlined in China’s 12-point peace proposal last year, a document widely dismissed by the West as disingenuous and focused solely on protecting Russian interests.

But if Russia loses, Xi Jinping will need to distance himself from Putin to avoid dragging down China’s global standing.

“No matter what happens, China will work hard to ensure that it is in the lead,” Ms. Coulter said. “If Russia looks like it’s going to be defeated, China will keep Moscow at arm’s length. It doesn’t want to be tied to a corpse.”

Wang Aoli Contributed research.

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