Xi Jinping Sees at Least One Winner Emerging From Ukraine War: China

Mr. Xi Jinping, President, People’s Republic of China. (Star Max/IPx)

The war in Ukraine is far from over, but a consensus is forming in Chinese policy circles that one country stands to emerge victorious from the turmoil: China.

After a confused initial response to Russia’s invasion, China has laid the building blocks of a strategy to shield itself from the worst economic and diplomatic consequences it could face, and to benefit from geopolitical shifts once the smoke clears.

China’s leader, Xi Jinping, has avoided criticizing President Vladimir Putin of Russia, but he has also tried to distance China from the carnage. His government has denounced the international sanctions imposed on Russia but, so far at least, has hinted that Chinese companies may comply with them, to protect China’s economic interests in the West.

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Xi reached out to European leaders last week with vague offers of assistance in negotiating a settlement, even as other Chinese officials amplified Russian disinformation campaigns meant to discredit the United States and NATO. Officials in Washington claimed, without providing evidence, that after the invasion Russia asked China for economic and military assistance, which a Chinese official denounced on Monday as disinformation.

In the end, China’s leadership has calculated that it must try to rise above what it considers a struggle between two tired powers and be seen as a pillar of stability in an increasingly turbulent world.

“This means that as long as we don’t commit terminal strategic blunders, China’s modernization will not be cut short, and on the contrary, China will have even greater ability and will to play a more important role in building a new international order,” Zheng Yongnian, a professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shenzhen, who has advised senior officials, wrote after the invasion in a widely circulated article.

At the heart of China’s strategy lies a conviction that the United States is weakened from reckless foreign adventures, including, from Beijing’s perspective, goading Putin into the Ukraine conflict.

The Yucatan Times
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