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Xi Jinping unlikely to throw Putin a lifeline as Ukraine struggles mount – Times of India

BEIJING: Shortly earlier than invading Ukraine in February, Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping declared a “no limits” friendship. But whilst his forces endure humiliating losses on the battlefield, Russia’s president should not count on a lot assist at his first assembly together with his Chinese language counterpart since then.
Xi and Putin meet face-to-face in Uzbekistan on Thursday of their first sitdown since a Beijing assembly earlier than the Winter Olympics that yielded a prolonged joint assertion of greater than 5,000 phrases. In it, they vowed to have “no ‘forbidden’ areas of cooperation” in difficult the US-led world order and pushing for a multipolar world.
But China appeared caught off guard when Putin invaded Ukraine a number of weeks later. Officers in Beijing initially struggled to each assist Russia and keep away from endorsing a transparent violation of sovereignty — a pretext that may very well be used to justify international intervention in Taiwan, which China claims as its territory.
China’s diplomatic backing for Russia finally solidified over the months, and strengthened additional after US Home Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan in August. Final week, Li Zhanshu — China’s No. 3 official — visited Moscow and advised Russian lawmakers that Beijing’s leaders “totally perceive the need of all of the measures taken by Russia aimed toward defending its key pursuits.”
Sanctions fears
However whereas commerce has picked up even because the US and its allies have imposed sweeping sanctions on Russia, Beijing has stopped in need of sending army provides or monetary assist which may make it a goal of such restrictions. And, regardless of current fears amongst some monetary traders, Beijing’s place is unlikely to vary even when Putin on Thursday asks Xi for army help in Ukraine following heavy Russian losses in current weeks.
“Chinese language officers speak about a partnership ‘with out limits,’ however Russia and China have all the time agreed to disagree on quite a few points,” stated Elizabeth Wishnick, a senior analysis scientist on the CNA, a safety assume tank in Washington.
“I do not assume Chinese language army assist to Russia is probably going because of the sanctions and powerful worldwide opprobrium that will ensue,” she added. “This may additionally contradict Chinese language claims that western army assist for Ukraine perpetuates the warfare.”
Putin in current days has seen a few of his greatest losses because the warfare started, with Ukraine saying it retook greater than 6,000 sq. kilometers (2,300 sq. miles) of land in a counteroffensive that has shifted the momentum of the battle. Though Russia nonetheless controls about one-fifth of Ukrainian territory, fears are rising that Putin might search additional escalation to regain the higher hand.
Whereas Xi sees Russia as an necessary diplomatic ally to withstand the US, significantly its army alliances and management of the worldwide monetary system, he has few home incentives to become involved. The Chinese language chief is ready to safe a 3rd time period in energy at a celebration congress subsequent month whereas additionally coping with an financial slowdown and a property disaster.
What’s extra, sending troops or weapons would mark a violation of sovereignty, undercutting China’s personal acknowledged positions. The Kremlin has needed to flip to Iran and North Korea for drones and ammunition, in line with the US.
Any Chinese language lack of life or financial hardship exacerbated by monetary sanctions solely dangers blowing again politically on the Communist Celebration, which has vowed to boost residing requirements among the many lots and even locked down main cities to maintain folks from dying of Covid.
China has a number of methods to point out extra assist for Russia that will not basically shift its place on the battle, stated Amanda Hsiao, senior analyst at Disaster Group, a Brussels-based coverage analysis group.
That features utilizing the Shanghai Cooperation Group assembly in Uzbekistan to point out the world that Putin is not remoted, in addition to probably taking part in additional army workout routines with Russia, she stated.
China and Russia’s financial ties have grown regardless of US and European sanctions within the warfare. Dominated by power and different commodities, Russia’s exports to China jumped almost 50% to $40.8 billion within the first 5 months of the yr.
China has additionally helped fill a void left by fleeing international corporations with automobiles, televisions and smartphones as its exports to Russia get well after a lull following the invasion. Its exports to Russia of built-in circuits and different semiconductor parts, and the machines that make them, rose to $155 million within the first seven months of this yr, up nearly 27% in comparison with the identical interval in 2021.
“To date China has offered political and ethical assist to Moscow however has avoided offering army help and toed the road on sanctions,” Hsiao stated. “This posture displays a balancing of its strategic pursuits with its financial ones — these pursuits will proceed to information Beijing’s positioning going ahead.”

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