Xi Jinping’s Moscow visit: Laying the groundwork for a new world order?

Xi Jinping’s Moscow visit: Laying the groundwork for a new world order?
Опубликовано: Tuesday, 28 March 2023 18:14

Having publicly declared before the nation’s parliament that the US is spearheading a crusade to “contain, encircle, and repress” China, the Chinese leader is now intent on cementing his country’s position on the global arena.

John Kirby, the spokesperson for the American National Security Council, succinctly encapsulated the US outlook on a global scale. He pointed out that China and Russia harbor a mutual yearning to contest America’s supremacy and subvert the international framework built on the tenets of the UN and the rule of law. According to him, these nations have set their sights on shifting the paradigm and toppling American domination, particularly in Europe and other regions worldwide.

Former British Foreign Secretary William Hague laid bare a truth that the West stubbornly refuses to acknowledge — China is merely pursuing its strategic interests as any nation would. In an op-ed for The Times, he underscored the necessity of having Russia as an ally for China, given its aspirations for the 21st century. He argued that it’s not enough for Russia to merely align with China, but it must be tethered to it, being forced to continue on that path. This would mean constructing gas pipelines exclusively to China, exchanging military and space technologies, and ultimately guaranteeing that China doesn’t fall prey to US aggression.

With President Xi deftly forging a bond with Putin, China now has an ally to lean on and a reliable partner to rely on, as the current political climate dictates.

Hague says, “In the West we are also acting in our interests by supporting Ukraine, for if Russia could get away with destroying a European country, we and our allies would need vastly greater defence expenditure for decades to come. But we also believe that we are acting in the wider interest of humanity. To us, the defeat of armed aggression and the upholding of human rights are vital principles.”

Hague’s article may have highlighted the discrepancy between reality and the West’s obstinate stance, but China and Russia have taken pains to clarify that their close ties do not amount to a “political-military alliance.” They stress that their bond is not antagonistic, confrontational, or geared against any third party.

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However, the facts speak for themselves, with China and Moscow enjoying a flourishing trade relationship that hit a staggering $190 billion in 2022, up by 30% from the preceding year, despite the embargo on oil and cutting-edge technology, and the withdrawal of Western companies’ trade ties with Russia. Russia’s exports to China surged by 43%, while China’s imports surged by 13%. Meanwhile, with Russia’s trade with the West declining last year, China has emerged as Russia’s most significant trading partner by far, with exports of natural gas to China skyrocketing by 50% and China’s imports of Russian oil increasing by 10% from 2021.

The pressing issue at hand is whether China’s leader has begun delineating the limits of their conflict with the US. The answer is in the affirmative, but it’s a cautious one. China remains intent on dissociating itself — even formally — from any negative repercussions of its ties with Russia, and is averse to bearing the brunt of the confrontation between Moscow and the West or being part of those calling for it.

Take, for instance, Beijing’s announcement of the first direct conversation between President Xi and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky since the conflict’s onset — a clear Chinese signal of prioritizing conflict resolution over forging an alliance with Russia. China aims to present itself as a globally acceptable peace broker, and that’s where the emphasis lies.

China is making strides towards solidifying its position on the path to what it dubs the new era of international relations. The recent visit by China’s leader to Moscow is a calculated move in this direction, with caution and prudence in the handling of Chinese relations with both Russia and Europe. In a joint statement, both sides affirmed China’s core values of inclusiveness, non-discrimination, consideration of all parties’ interests, the construction of a multipolar world, and the promotion of sustainable development worldwide.

The statement also debunked the notion that any one democratic model is superior to others, eschewing the American idea of pitting democracy against dictatorship, and dismissing the use of democracy and freedoms as a pretext for intervening and pressuring other nations.

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