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Show-off of the Xi Jinping-Putin bond

Posted March. 22, 2023 07:58,   

Updated March. 22, 2023 07:58


During his visit to Russia, Chinese President Xi Jinping held a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin and publicly demonstrated ties between the two countries. The two leaders discussed ways to strengthen bilateral relations, including economic cooperation, at the summit yesterday following an informal meeting that lasted four and a half hours with a dinner on the 20th. President Putin expressed great respect for President Xi, saying, “The two countries have many common goals,” and President Xi responded, “Russia is a reliable partner,” and even made an unusual remark supporting Putin’s long-term rule.

The solidarity between China and Russia, led by the “bromance” between the leaders, is being sought as a strategy to confront the US-centered Western bloc. Facing intense sanctions from the international community along with the protracted war, Russia is in desperate need of economic cooperation with China. China, competing for supremacy with the United States, is also siding with Russia as an ally of anti-American solidarity. Trade volume between the two countries increased by more than 30% as China is buying crude oil and gas from Russia. The two countries are now poised to begin full-scale cooperation in the military sector as well.

A strife between China and Russia and the West is highly likely to create an unstable global security situation. If North Korea and Iran join China and Russia's united front against the U.S., heightened nuclear threats will inevitably emerge. In addition, with the possibility of a “China invasion of Taiwan within the next five years” being raised, the solidarity between China and Russia is a variable that can affect Taiwan, a security trigger in Asia. Some say China, failing to understand America's willingness to provide a security umbrella if Russia wins the war, will launch an armed occupation of Taiwan. This is an issue that will bring considerable repercussions to Korea as well.

Although President Xi said he would mediate the Russia-Ukraine war, it is questionable whether he will be able to garner any results. China's 12-point position statement is filled with ambiguous content without specific plans. The Western camp is dismissing the ceasefire without the withdrawal of Russian troops as “recognizing the illegal occupation of Ukrainian territory.” A scenario where China is providing weapons such as shells and drones to Russia is also being raised. If so, it will be difficult for China to avoid criticism for neglecting Russia's war crimes while only pretending to mediate.

Nonetheless, China and Russia are leaving North Korea's nuclear and missile issues, the biggest security threat in the region, unresolved. The two countries' commitment to defending the UN Charter, which is neutralizing the Security Council while blatantly ignoring the UN resolutions stipulating sanctions against North Korea, has been rendered nothing but empty promises. Collusion between great authoritarian powers that do not even abide by basic international norms is thus more disconcerting. At some point, the flames of armed conflict ignited in Europe could rub off on other regions, including Northeast Asia. For this reason, robust preparations are needed to handle storms of unprecedented magnitude.