The final blow to Chinese “neutrality” regarding the war in Ukraine – Politico

At the same time, Beijing has also gravitated toward the idea of ​​“indivisible security,” which posits that countries should not enhance their security at the expense of others — a principle that Moscow has promoted for decades, and a criticism aimed at NATO activities. Before the invasionChina has supported this concept in joint statements with Russia. But since then, it has been included in the Global Security Initiative – a cornerstone of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s vision for international relations – suggesting it will have a more prominent role in Chinese foreign policy.

The two men also share a disdain for Western sanctions, including those imposed on Russia. Chinese officials strongly oppose America.”Unlawful unilateral sanctionsThey say they will not comply with it. Not only has Xi passively resisted efforts to isolate Russia and provide the country with an economic lifeline, he has also demonstrated his willingness to bear the reputational and economic costs of supporting his neighbor.

Since 2022, China’s leaders have been dealing with a serious issue Economic downturnsudden and unexplained Removal of two ministers from the government And it increased Western resistance for its global ambitions. The war has only magnified these challenges, as China’s relations with Europe have been distorted by Beijing’s support for Moscow. While China has been wary of openly violating Western sanctions, several Chinese companies have recently been hit by them Restrictions To trade with Russian counterparts.

But this appears to be a sacrifice Xi is willing to make. In fact, as the West increases its demands on China, its ties with Russia appear to have strengthened. Trade and defense exchanges have grown significantly, while the Russian people seem to have become more… Act positively Towards China as well.

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The war has only magnified these challenges, as China’s relations with Europe have been distorted by Beijing’s support for Moscow. | Ludovic Marin/AFP via Getty Images

The longer China maintains its pro-Russian stance, the more difficult it will become to reverse all of this. Chinese companies have already adapted their operations to meet expanding trade relations with Russia. Over time, this structural change will become more difficult and costly to reverse. Moreover, Xi’s support for Putin has been strong Personal and received a lot of media coverage. Since China’s pro-Russian policies do not enjoy universal support among Chinese intellectuals, the policy change could be seen as a concession to its critics.

After meeting with Xi in April, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced that the two leaders had agreed to “Intensive coordinationOn holding peace conferences on Ukraine. He explained that he believedChina’s word carries weight in Russia“.

It is true that a mediator does not have to be completely neutral to be successful. Through its decisive influence over one or both of the conflicting parties, it can persuade them to make concessions that would otherwise be impossible. However, for these efforts to be successful, the mediator must be willing to rely on dependent parties in a way that could significantly strain his or her relationships with them. So far, Xi has shown no sign of willingness to do so – and the chances of that appear to be diminishing.

European leaders are right to maintain dialogue with China and continue to demand that Xi use his influence. But until China does so, allowing Beijing to play a major role in the peace process risks legitimizing the invasion.

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