China and Russia may not support each other militarily: Analysts

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping (LR on screen) shake hands during an official ceremony, via teleconference, to kick off Russian gas supplies to China over the Internet. east road.

Mikhail Metzel | TASS | beautiful pictures

BEIJING – International pressure may have pushed China and Russia closer together, but not enough for the two countries to send military assistance to each other, US-based analysts say.

President of China Xi Jinping meet his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin almost for the second time this year on Wednesday. It comes just days after the United States and the other Group of 7 major economies condemns Russia’s military construction and “aggressive language towards Ukraine.”

“Beijing and Moscow are forging closer ties as both governments see deeper bilateral cooperation as having a in their national interest, not primarily because of the ideological relationship between Xi and Putin,” said Neil Thomas, China and Northeast Asia analyst at the consulting firm Eurasia Group.

China and Russia would rather “divide Washington’s political attention between strategic flashpoints in Europe and the Indo-Pacific,” he said in an email.

It is not clear what Beijing’s position is on Ukraine, but China is similarly under international scrutiny over human rights issues and its territorial claims on the democratically self-governing island of Taiwan.

Neither of them specifically confirmed the other’s position on their touchpoints, so I think they both want to maintain some sort of flexibility.

William Courtney

support senior colleague, Rand Corp

This year, while Moscow has sent troops to the border with Ukraine, Beijing has increased military activity near Taiwan. Our President Joe Biden recently make confusing statements about whether Washington would defend Taiwan under attack.

Beijing may want to make sure that if it takes military action against Taiwan, says Angela Stent, professor emeritus and director of the Center for Eurasian, Russian and Eastern European Studies at Georgetown University. “the Russians will do nothing”.

“I think both sides admit, Putin knows, that if he invades Ukraine, China [isn’t] will send military assistance,” she said on CNBC.Squawk Box Asia“on Thursday.” But they will remain completely neutral and that allows them to do whatever they want within what they consider to be their sphere of influence. “

Official reports from both Beijing and Moscow portray the two leaders’ virtual meeting on Wednesday as another friendly chat that has helped strengthen ties between the countries.

Analysts highlighted the rare and more personal use of “you” in Xi’s speech to Putin, as China’s foreign ministry put it.

However, “none of them particularly endorse the other’s views regarding their sensitive points, so I think both want to maintain some sort of flexibility,” said William Courtney, assistant senior at Rand Corp. said on CNBC “Capital connection“on Thursday. He is a former US ambassador to Georgia and Kazakhstan.

During the video call, Mr. Xi said he was looking forward to meeting the Russian leader in person at the Olympics in Beijing in February. The Chinese leader also “reaffirmed China’s commitment to firmly support Russia in maintaining long-term stability”. According to a statement from China’s foreign ministry.

Russia speaks of China’s goodwill

Moscow is even more optimistic.

During the video call, Putin said Russia’s relations with China were at their best ever, according to statements from both countries.

A Kremlin aide also told reporters after the meeting that Xi said the bilateral relationship was stronger and more productive than that of allies, even though the two sides do not have a formal alliance like that. so.

“President Xi stressed that he understands Russia’s concerns and fully supports our initiative to develop appropriate security guarantees for Russia,” said Yury Ushakov, aide for foreign policy. Foreign Affairs of the President of Russia said.

Putin said Washington Ukraine should not be allowed to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in return for assurances that Russia would not invade. But Biden told Putin in a virtual meeting last week that Washington would not accept such a request.

An attack on one member of NATO – a powerful military alliance – is considered an attack on all member states. Ukraine has wanted to join NATO since 2002, but Russia has objected, arguing that such a move would be a direct threat to its borders.

China’s diplomatic self-interest

The statement from China’s foreign ministry does not describe the relationship with Russia as some kind of alliance. The two countries are major trading partners, in which China buys a large amount of energy products from Russia.

“China does not want a formal military alliance with Russia, as it wants to avoid directly participating in the tumultuous international political situation caused by Moscow’s destabilizing moves in Eastern Europe, and has a ‘policy’. An independent, peaceful foreign policy’ opposes military conflict and emphasizes its importance, says Thomas of Eurasia Group.

Read more about China from CNBC Pro

“Russia is a very junior partner in the bilateral relationship,” said Mr. Thomas. “And Moscow’s ambitions in Ukraine [is] hardly important enough for Beijing to let go of its longstanding opposition to formal alliances in international affairs. ”

While seeking its own interests, Beijing declares a core principle of “Xi Jinping Thought on Diplomacy” to “build a community with a common future for mankind in order to safeguard peace”. world and promote common development.”

Earlier this week, China’s foreign ministry said Xi had sent his condolences to Biden for the deaths and other devastation caused by powerful tornadoes in the US. China and Russia may not support each other militarily: Analysts

Emma James

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