Sep 12, 2022
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You should not dream of a military alliance between Russia and China – neither we nor they need it

You should not dream of a military alliance between Russia and China - neither we nor they need it

Photo: Yuri Smityuk/TASS

President of Russia Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping will hold a personal meeting during the summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), which will be held on September 15-16 in Samarkand. This was reported to journalists by the Russian ambassador to China. Andrey Denisov.

He noted that this is the first full-fledged summit since the beginning of the pandemic, and Moscow and Beijing are actively preparing, including for a full-scale meeting of the leaders of Russia and China.

“I don’t want to say that online summits are not full-fledged, but nevertheless, direct communication between leaders is a slightly different quality of discussion,” the diplomat believes.

Vladimir Putin himself confirmed these plans during a meeting with the chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress of China. Li Zhanshu.

“Give the best words and wishes to my good friend. We will meet with President Xi Jinping soon, hopefully in Samarkand in Uzbekistan,” he said.

Moscow and Beijing have become closer partners in recent years as both face tensions with the West. China does not support Western sanctions against Moscow and refuses to condemn Russia, and Chinese energy companies buy Russian energy in record volumes, the CNN article notes. According to Associate Professor at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore Alfred Wuthe upcoming meeting will further strengthen both the friendship between Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping and between Russia and China.

In turn, Andrey Denisov noted that the Chinese economy depends both on trade with the West and on Russian energy resources, which “nourish the Chinese economy,” therefore, in the context of anti-Russian sanctions, both Moscow and Beijing have to adapt.

“China is not interested in any additional complications for its trade with the West, on which the survival of the Chinese economy depends, I am not afraid of high words. China is in no way interested in creating difficulties for itself because of us in relations with Western partners, ”TASS quoted the diplomat as saying.

He sees no reason to be offended and make claims, since on the part of China, which has a trade turnover of about 1 trillion 500 billion dollars with the European Union and the United States, this is a reasonable precaution.

At the same time, according to Vladimir Putin, the strategic partnership between Russia and China is developing successfully, last year the trade turnover grew by 36% and reached $140 billion, and by another 30% in the first half of 2022.

“And, apparently, we will indeed soon reach the $200 billion turnover, as we wanted,” the Russian president believes.

Associate Professor of RANEPA Dmitry Saprika believes that at the upcoming meeting it will be more about politics than economics. The expert does not see great prospects in the economy.

– With all the kind words of China, it is now very restrained in the economic part. This is due to the fact that the US and European markets are more important for him than the Russian one.

The trade turnover has grown because, as in India, the supply of energy carriers has increased significantly. Deliveries of Chinese goods to Russia, if they have grown, have grown insignificantly for one simple reason – effective demand in Russia is falling.

Head of the Center for Asia-Pacific Studies, IMEMO RAS, Chief Researcher Institute of China and Modern Asia RAS Alexander Lomanov considers that the basic official approach to regional problems and relations with Russia was voiced by the Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress of China Li Zhanshu during his speech at the Eastern Economic Forum. The expert also noted that the interest of Moscow and Beijing in the development of bilateral economic relations.

— The reasons are different in terms of the geography of the crisis, but they are very similar in terms of the anxieties experienced by both sides.

When some experts say that Russia is very interested in China, much more than China is in Russia, this is a very controversial position. At the moment, when Russia is under serious economic sanctions, its interest in cooperation with China is quite large, but China is well aware that America will not back down from the policy of pressure and containment of China, that this policy is long-term in nature and China will not be able to make any cosmetic concessions. return Sino-American relations to the state they were in 10 years ago, when they were really very good.

China is aware that the first is the irreversible and long-term nature of the deterioration in US-China relations, and the second is the ability of the United States to provoke a serious crisis on China’s maritime borders. We usually talk about the Taiwan Strait crisis, that’s right. It is also within the reach of the United States to provoke a crisis in the South China Sea, involving its allies for this. In both cases, the transition of the conflict into a military phase is quite likely, which means that China will face sanctions roughly comparable to those currently imposed on Russia. For China, from some abstract theoretical topic, such a sudden economic isolation from the United States, which their allies, primarily Japan and to some extent Europe, will obviously join, is no longer a speculative state, it is not something that can happen with a probability of one thousandth percent.

This very real prospect of drawing China into a serious regional conflict with the imposition of US sanctions on China, to which the United States will involve its allies, is becoming more and more likely. Based on this, China is very interested in its relations with Russia being stable and predictable. The motivation is the same – the emergence of a crisis situation is becoming more and more likely. In this case, China needs Russia as a stable rear, as a source for obtaining both hydrocarbon raw materials and some other types of raw materials that China may not be buying in such quantities now, and as a backup source for food supplies. If today Russia is facing sanctions of such a scale that China is not yet aware of, then in the next few years this situation may change in an unfavorable manner for China. It may find itself, if not in an absolutely similar, then in a much more unfavorable one than the one in which it is today.

“SP”: – Are Moscow and Beijing, given the difficult foreign policy situation in the region, not limited to exercises, such as those just held, etc. events, but to conclude some serious defense agreement or something like that?

“I can’t imagine either a Chinese contingent somewhere near Kharkov, or a Russian one participating in the liberation of Taiwan. It seems to me that both scenarios are beyond the national interests of Moscow and Beijing.

This is quite a serious act. This is a demonstration of common interests, common intentions of the entire world community. We presume in advance that neither China nor Russia will send military contingents to help each other and participate in the joint solution of the political crises in which they now find themselves, since this at least makes no sense. Firstly, the proclamation of such a military alliance will cause a sharp reaction from the so-called collective West, and will become an additional incentive for anti-Chinese, anti-Russian rallying. If after that it suddenly turns out that this union is of a formally declarative nature, then at first there will be a Sinophobic-Russophobic wave, which is absolutely unprofitable for Moscow and Beijing, and after it there will also be a wave of gloating. Like the next wave of propaganda – that this is a de formal alliance, that both sides do not trust each other, there is nothing behind this.

At the current stage, the proclamation of such an alliance will rather turn into a propaganda fiasco for both sides, so I think no one will proclaim it. The approach that both sides now adhere to will dominate – this is real cooperation, support for each other without declaring formal anti-Western alliances.

It should be taken into account that the Chinese foreign policy ideology has a set of postulates, and it is very predictable. The collection is small, but it is replicated with great constancy and perseverance. One of the basic postulates of modern Chinese foreign policy ideology is that the creation of such alliances is the practice of the 20th century, it is outdated. The following conclusion follows from this – the West lives in the world of the 20th century, driven by the mentality of the Cold War, committed to the alliances that were created at that time, and cannot jump out of this paradigm, while China already lives in the world of the 21st century, where there should be no bloc confrontation , “little worlds behind high walls,” as they say, when several countries gather in blocks and fence off from the whole world. The Chinese emphasize in every possible way that it is impossible to fence off from the outside world.

Chinese foreign policy ideology seems to be very simple, built on a small set of theses, but they are quite interconnected and therefore look, at least from the Chinese point of view, very convincing. The key postulate for China is the community of the destiny of all mankind. Therefore, if we are talking about building this community, in order to unite everyone – first the developing economies, then the whole world under this banner to achieve economic, political goals, development etc.then, accordingly, blocks, alliances directed against someone are contraindicated for this purpose.

For China, this is not a situational issue – today we do not want to, but tomorrow we will conclude an alliance. For him, this is a very serious step, because it will be a complete negation of the cornerstone of Chinese foreign policy ideology, on which it has been built for the past decades. This is incompatible with the creation of blocs and inter-bloc confrontation, therefore, of course, one can never say that nothing will ever happen in this world, but for China, the creation of a full-scale military alliance with any country, especially directed against other countries, it will be a very serious step that will require not only military-political determination, but also a revision of the foundations on which China’s foreign policy is built.

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