Infinitely, but not that much

Three weeks before the invasion of Ukraine, China and Russia agreed on an “alliance without borders”, which precipitated the division of the northern hemisphere into two competing blocs. The regime in Beijing has watched with concern Vladimir Putin’s military failure during this first year of the war. It did not support Moscow with weapons, but, as Robin Niblett recalled, it increased its imports of Russian oil and gas and gave it even greater support by concocting a favorable story. Chinese media justifies Russian aggression on a daily basis and points to Western countries, especially NATO and the United States, as the culprits in the conflict. This narrative affects hundreds of countries that have not aligned themselves with this or that side, and many of them are also receiving Chinese aid to develop. The Asian superpower overlooks the negative impact of the Ukraine war on the global economy. For the time being, it is worth absorbing these costs, because it aspires in its long-term strategy to have a vassal Russia that has become a smooth ally in hostility with the United States. Xi Jinping is not subject to the party checks and balances that limited the power of his predecessors. This buildup of power allows him to make riskier bets and twist the script without accountability to anyone, as was his abandonment of the zero Covid policy. But if the Chinese economy does not improve its weak growth, compared to other years, Xi will start to have more and more problems at home. Yesterday, China announced its support for a political agreement in Ukraine, repeating the well-known arguments. He insisted on condemning Russia’s possible use of nuclear weapons and criticized Western sanctions. But China does not seek neutrality or mediation. It has neither diplomatic nor credibility. However, with these statements in which he said nothing new, he’s suggesting that the Alliance Without Borders might not be the case.

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