World News: Putin and Xi-Jinping’s No Limits Friendship

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While the Ukrainian conflict has redrawn European fault lines and diplomatic balances, Russian President Vladimir Putin and China’s President Xi-Jinping have unofficially formed unified bond thus reassessing China's place in the globalization process and in global geopolitical spaces.

While during the first days of the war in Ukraine, attention turned to Moscow, hoping for a sign of appeasement, it is now to Beijing that the attention of all parties to the conflict is turning. And to say that the resolution of the crisis, triggered by Vladimir Putin, increasingly isolated, will be played out in the Chinese capital is an understatement as the political and especially economic weight of China weighs heavily on international relations and more precisely their nature.

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The stakes for Beijing could not be clearer. If Vladimir Putin's Russia could, in a pinch and for a time, endorse the economic sanctions decided by the European Union and all the Western nations, China is far too involved in the process of globalization to allow itself any quarrel with Europe or North America.

Anxious to develop its trade relations with Europe via the new Silk Roads that will cross Eastern Europe through Ukraine, China cannot afford support for Russia, which would not fail to offend, or even more, its European partners. The same situation is the same with the United States, a leading trading partner for a country eager to satisfy a growing middle class and eager for social progress while making Westerners forget the Uyghur issue through fruitful trade relations.

Chaos vs. Continuity

The time of choice has come for the Middle Kingdom because China, through a thousand-year-old culture, abhors chaos and rupture preferring negotiation and the continuity of peaceful relations in which all parties are satisfied.

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It is true, however, that China finds itself in a most uncomfortable situation: supporting Russia ensures peace with a neighbor that has long been turbulent, but which is now one of its regular gas and oil suppliers at the risk of severing trade relations with the Eur in an indirect or direct way. Opéens and North Americans; to refrain from any support, which in diplomatic terms is to support the West, and to guarantee its economic future for long decades at the risk of reviving the peaceful resentments with Russia.

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The Ukrainian conflict, which has upset European geopolitics by reshaping east-west fault lines and shifting the centers of gravity to balance spaces of diplomatic tension, is also disrupting the choices and orientations of China, comfortable in the ambiguity of positions always able to serve its interests.

Indo-Pacific and Balancing

Except that the current situation, dictated by the brutality of a unilateral decision, here that of Russia, imposes a position if not radical at least frank in its foundations. Unaccustomed because, let us repeat, china is reluctant to break, China knows that any official support for Russia would mortgage its ambitions to dominate the Indo-Pacific region by forcing the United States to more activism in the region concerned.

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At the same time, the Uyghur issue, which westerners are deliberately ignoring so as not to offend the Chinese giant, could suddenly erupt in diplomatic relations just like the Taiwan case, for the moment passed over in silence. Finally, a direct position would have the consequence of seriously halting, as described above, economic and trade relations between Asia and the West, a consequence that Beijing does not wish to face under any circumstances.

Thus, this risky balancing act, which can only have a time, is perhaps the latest avatar of a Chinese policy placed under the seal of ambivalence, Beijing can no longer afford the luxury of playing the capricious giants in a world in re-composition.


Bio: Olivier Longhi has extensive experience in European history. A seasoned journalist with fifteen years of experience, he is currently professor of history and geography in the Toulouse region of France. He has held a variety of publishing positions, including Head of Agency and Chief of Publishing. A journalist, recognized blogger, editor, and editorial project manager, he has trained and managed editorial teams, worked as a journalist for various local radio stations, a press and publishing consultant, and a communications consultant.

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