China still benefits from relations with Russia, even with international reputation at risk: experts

China still has much to gain from its current relations with Russia even as the invasion of Ukraine drags on, turning Russia into an international pariah and threatening to ruin China’s reputation as well.

“China has, in effect, doubled its support for Putin’s war effort, and we saw it, for example, last month when the Chinese third rank leader went to Moscow, spoke to the State Duma and, in very clear terms, expressed Beijing’s support for Russia, “Gordon Change, author of” The Coming Collapse of China “, told Fox News Digital.

“Therefore, [we] seeing Jinping himself when he was in Uzbekistan for the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit actually confirmed that approval, “added Chang.” The only conclusion we can come to is that Beijing is not moving away from Russia. ” .

The dynamics of China and Russia remained worrying for the United States even before the invasion of Ukraine began in March 2022. Beijing bought about 100 tons of Russian coal in the run-up to the invasion and eased imports of wheat. Russian – all of which helped provide Russia with the money it badly needed as Western sanctions hit hard and fast.

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But the invasion did not end as quickly as many expected and Ukraine continued to make gains that seemed incredible when the invasion began, from taking back key strategic points around Kiev to pushing Russia back and forcing Moscow to focus. only on the easternmost Donbas region.

Chinese President Xi Jinping, left, and Russian President Vladimir Putin pose for a photo on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Samarkand, Uzbekistan on Thursday, September 15, 2022.

Chinese President Xi Jinping, left, and Russian President Vladimir Putin pose for a photo on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Samarkand, Uzbekistan on Thursday, September 15, 2022.
(Alexandr Demyanchuk, Sputnik, photo of the Kremlin pool via AP)

Despite the reputational damage that could result from continuing to associate with Russia, especially as war crimes allegations continue to pile up and Russian men flee the country to avoid Putin’s draft, China still benefits from its relations with Moscow.

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Chief among these benefits is the ongoing effort to continue upgrading and modernizing the Chinese military, which Beijing has accomplished by working on reverse engineer Russia, according to Miles Yu, Senior Fellow and Director of the China Center at the Hudson Institute. .

In this photo taken from the video published by the press service of the Russian Ministry of Defense on Monday 29 August 2022, Chinese soldiers arrive at the Grodekovo railway station to participate in war game exercises, in Grodekovo, Primorsky Krai, Russia.

In this photo taken from the video published by the press service of the Russian Ministry of Defense on Monday 29 August 2022, Chinese soldiers arrive at the Grodekovo railway station to participate in war game exercises, in Grodekovo, Primorsky Krai, Russia.
(Press service of the Russian Ministry of Defense)

China would get Russian weapons and vehicle designs and weapons by purchasing them, or in some cases by going to Ukraine to buy older models and figure out how to build one, all to help build a better Chinese army.

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And many of China’s opponents in Asia are allies of Russia, which means the two countries are working to balance their interests and try to take each other without revealing too much.

But China also seems to want it “both ways” and will aim for “postwar reconstruction in Ukraine”, where Beijing can regain influence and control by providing Ukraine with much of what it will need to rebuild.

Chinese President Xi Jinping attends a meeting of the heads of member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) at a summit in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, on September 16, 2022.

Chinese President Xi Jinping attends a meeting of the heads of member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) at a summit in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, on September 16, 2022.
(Uzbekistan Foreign Ministry / Pantry via Reuters)

China’s main focus remains the expansion of its influence, however far it may go: Chinese President Xi Jinping has worked to grow the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, a multinational trading organization that Beijing and Moscow created together with the former states. Soviets in Asia. Iran recently joined the group, adding another foreign agitator to the ranks.

Xi will be sworn in for an unprecedented third term as chairman of the Chinese Communist Party, but his ambitions could still end up ruining his party in the long run, according to Chang.

“We don’t know what’s going on in China [as] the regime is becoming less transparent over time, “explained Chang.” There are certainly indications that Chinese senior leaders are not happy with Xi Jinping’s full support of Vladimir Putin, but Xi has the power to silence dissenting voices. ” .

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“At some point, you would think that for a variety of reasons Xi will lose influence: it’s not just Ukraine, it’s not just so-called wolf warrior diplomacy, but China is losing friends all over the world,” continued Chang. “It’s not just the internal problems that Xi is the author of: it’s all together.”

“At some point, the Chinese political system will do what’s rational, which is to get rid of Jinping, but we’re not there yet.”