Neither Russia nor China Want the Ukraine War to End, but for Different Reasons - Latest Global News

Neither Russia nor China Want the Ukraine War to End, but for Different Reasons

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin visits China seeking support amid Western sanctions.

  • Russia’s economy today relies on war activities and trade with China.

  • Putin wants to rebalance Russia’s relationship with China, but time is on Beijing’s side.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is on a two-day visit to China and is bringing a large trade delegation with him. It is his first official trip abroad after being re-elected to a fifth term, and it is just days after he appointed a civilian economist to head Russia’s Defense Ministry, showing that his country’s war economy is here to stay.

But while China is Russia’s most important market, Putin is not only courting economic support from Xi Jinping – China’s leader who has called Putin his “old friend”. The Russian leader is also building a strategic relationship.

“The two states are allies not because they share any particular cultural or ideological affinity; rather, they came together because of the old saying that ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend,'” Chels Michta, a non-resident fellow at the Center for European Policy Analysis, wrote on Wednesday.

“Their partnership is largely practical in nature – anchored in hard power principles, without ideological pretensions or posturing,” Michta added.

“In this Realpolitik “Both parties believe that by continuing to work together they have more to gain than risk losses,” she continued.

Putin must balance China’s influence on the Russian economy

Russia’s economy has remained resilient despite more than two years of Western sanctions, thanks in part to a boost from government subsidies and war production.

One economist even went so far as to say that Russia’s economy was so driven by the war that it could neither afford to win nor lose in the conflict.

But Russia has also become increasingly dependent on China since the start of the war in Ukraine. Bilateral trade reached a record $240 billion last year – a 26% increase from $190 billion the previous year.

“It is fair to say that without China’s economic support, Russia would not have been able to withstand the economic sanctions imposed by the West following Putin’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine,” Michta wrote.

But she also pointed out that the trade boom had served China’s interests more than Russia’s, putting Moscow in an increasingly subordinate position. For example, she wrote that Russia now “exports raw materials to China, while China sends finished goods, especially cars, to Russia – the latter at the expense of the Russian auto industry.”

A key point on Putin’s agenda in China would be to get the country to agree to a planned natural gas pipeline from Siberia to China, since Russia has lost its market in Europe – so far its largest single market – due to sanctions.

“By selling large quantities of cheap gas to China, Russia may be able to draw Beijing into a closer geopolitical alliance,” analysts at Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy wrote on Wednesday.

“Convincing China to commit to such a large project during the war would be a geopolitical coup for Moscow and would show the West and the Global South that it is capable of deepening its energy ties with China despite the war.” , the energy analysts added.

But China actually doesn’t need more gas until the mid-2030s, so time is on Beijing’s side.

China says it wants peace but has more to gain from a prolonged war

Beijing has called for peace in Ukraine and put forward a proposal to that end last year – which some analysts consider vague.

But some analysts say China has more to gain from a prolonged war.

“America’s continued support for Kiev – and thus Russia’s inability to protect its gains in the short term – is actually in Beijing’s interest,” CEPA’s Michta wrote.

“Cutting out U.S. aid would have a negative impact on China, as Ukraine’s implosion would halt or at least slow Moscow’s slide into vassal-like dependence on Beijing,” she added.

Michta, who also serves as a military intelligence officer in the U.S. Army, said Beijing appeared to have decided that supporting Russia was worth any retaliation from the West.

She noted that an increasingly dependent Russia may be able to offer Beijing key military technology it developed in the post-Soviet era, helping China make major advances in the sector.

Moscow and Beijing want to upend the West’s dominance in the world order

Despite their attempts to outdo each other, the ever-closer relationship between Russia and China is a problem for the West.

“Currently, the shared purpose of the autocratic powers has created the closest relationship in decades. China and Russia are forging a partnership that is increasingly reminiscent of a great power alliance,” wrote Michta.

In particular, Beijing has set its goals further than Russia – which is more interested in changing the balance of power in Europe.

“Beijing is pursuing a far more ambitious project aimed at changing the foundations of the global order,” Michta wrote, “and ending once and for all the era of global Western domination.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

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