tirsdag 21. februar 2023

As Biden visits Ukraine, China’s top diplomat goes to Russia

As US President Joe Biden touched down in Ukraine to meet with his counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky on Monday, China’s top diplomat was traveling in the opposite direction, on his way to Russia. Wang Yi – who was promoted as Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s top foreign policy adviser last month – is due to arrive in Moscow this week for the final stop of his eight-day Europe tour, a trip that brings into focus China’s attempted diplomatic balancing act since Russia tanks rolled into Ukraine a year ago.

The Kremlin has said it does not “rule out” a meeting between Wang and Russian leader Vladimir Putin. If they do meet, the images of Wang and Putin shaking hands inside the fortified Kremlin will be a stark juxtaposition to Biden’s open-air stroll with Zelensky through Kyiv amid air raid sirens. The optics of the two trips – taking place just days before the one-year anniversary of the brutal war on Friday – underscores the sharpening of geopolitical fault lines between the world’s two superpowers.

While relations between the US and China continue to plummet – most recently due to the fallout from a suspected Chinese spy balloon that entered US airspace, China and Russia are as close as ever since their leaders declared a “no-limits” friendship a year ago – partly driven by their shared animosity toward the United States.