Saturday, May 25, 2024

Xi and Putin are talking about peace – but preparing for war

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Much of the US and Europe’s concern has been directed at Beijing’s continued trade with a heavily sanctioned Moscow since the invasion of Ukraine, as well as a weapons technology alliance that has seen Chinese chips and machine components boost Russia’s war machine.

China has refused to condemn the war and backs Moscow diplomatically, accusing the West of undermining Russia’s security. Russia, meanwhile, has consistently emphasised support for Beijing on issues related to Taiwan, which China has threatened to invade.

Putin may also be keen to discuss the construction of a pipeline across Siberia, taking natural gas to China that would have gone to Europe. One of the deputy prime ministers in his entourage, Alexander Novak, is a key official for Moscow’s oil and gas.

When Putin speaks of his approval for China’s plan for peace in Ukraine, he is referring to a vague 12-point plan published by Beijing that would apparently cement Moscow’s control of the Ukrainian regions it has captured through military force.

Some analysts argue that China’s support for Russia helps draw attention and resources away from the Pacific and the long-term security of Taiwan.

Russian and Chinese war games, including naval drills and patrols by long-range bombers over the Sea of Japan, and ground force exercises on each other’s territory have also begun to change US calculations around the issue of Taiwan.

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