torsdag 17. mars 2022

How close are China and Russia and where does Beijing stand on Ukraine?

Under the rule of Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin China and Russia have become increasingly isolated from the west – and closer to each other. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine came just days after Xi and Putin cemented a significant partnership on the sidelines of the Beijing Winter Olympics – the first in-person, bilateral meeting Xi had attended since the pandemic began.

A joint statement from the two leaders said the bonds between the two countries had “no limits” and there were “no ‘forbidden’ areas of cooperation”. It called on the west to “abandon the ideologised approaches of the cold war”, and expressed support for each other’s stance on Ukraine and Taiwan.

Analysts say that the leaders believe they are stronger united. “Beijing’s rationale for the China-Russia relationship is that both countries confront a hostile west and both will be better able to withstand western pressure by standing together than apart,” says Ryan Hass, a Brookings Institute scholar on China and Asia. “Without Russia, the thinking goes, China would be alone to deal with a hostile west determined to obstruct China’s rise.”