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The Biden administration is trying to get Beijing to abandon its relationship with Russia as Moscow carries out its war with Ukraine in what many in Washington would see as a diplomatic coup de grâce against the Kremlin due to its reliance on the Chinese market.
John Kirby, the White House National Security Council spokesman, told CNN that the message to China has been consistent and that it is not the “time for any kind of business as usual with [Russian President Vladimir] Putin.”
He told the network that Beijing risks being left outside “the rest of the international community, which has largely condemned what [Putin] has done in Ukraine.”
TRENDPOST: The Trends Journal has reported on how the U.S. has tried to corral China into its anti-Russia alliance, but Beijing has made it clear that it will not be pressured. (See “BEIJING: STOP WESTERN SANCTIONS ON RUSSIA” 22 Mar 2022, “CHINA STANDS WITH RUSSIA. TELLS E.U. AND U.S. FU!” 5 Apr 2022, and “CHINA CALLS FOR RESTRAINT IN UKRAINE, BLAMES WEST FOR CALAMITY” 1 Mar 2022.)
Together We Stand
China has been praised by Russia for being responsible in its reaction to the invasion. And the No. 3 head of China, Li Zhanshu who visited Moscow earlier this month, said his country stood with Russia and gave them full "understanding and full support."
Li, the chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, told the Russians during his visit that "On the Ukraine issue, for example, the United States and NATO are expanding directly on Russia's doorstep, threatening Russia's national security and the lives of Russian citizens.”
Li said that "Given the circumstances, Russia has taken necessary measures. China understands, and we are coordinating on various aspects."
Xi Jinping, the Chinese president, met with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin last week at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, and said Beijing is prepared to work even closer with Russia on various issues like connectivity, agriculture, and trade. Xi said China will work with Russia to inject stability into a world of change and disorder.
Putin said the only consistent relationship in the world is Russia and China’s relationship, which is as stable as mountains.
TRENDPOST: China is benefiting from its relationship with Russia and has been buying energy supplies at a steep discount now that Russia no longer has a reliable customer in Europe. Reuters noted that Beijing is the world’s largest energy consumer and, from April to July, imported 17 percent more Russian crude compared to 2021.
In all, China has spent $43.68 billion this year on Russian oil, gas, coal, and other electricity purchases. The timing could not be better for China because its economy has been hurt by COVID lockdowns and supply chain issues.
"China is taking advantage of the disrupted trade flows, including by buying discounted Russian oil and LNG cargoes, while swapping out alternative volumes back into Europe at higher prices, delivering a profitable trade," Saul Kavonic, head of Integrated Energy and Resources Research at Credit Suisse, told Reuters.
We have noted that Putin and Xi proclaimed in February that their relationship has no limits. Some analysts see Xi as simply playing Putin for his energy supplies. CNN noted that China has not violated Western sanctions and has not provided any military support.
Russia and China are not peers. Beijing’s economy is 10 times larger than Russia’s.
“Russia needs China more than China needs Russia,” Keith Krach, former Under Secretary of State for Economic growth, Energy and the Environment in the U.S., told CNN.
TREND FORECAST: How will Russia fight against the sanctions being imposed upon it and the scores of businesses and financial institutions leaving the nation? Russia has bolstered itself over a long period of time—even prior to the Ukraine War—in preparation for the assault by creating as much of a self-sufficient economy as possible, in line with our Top 2022 Trend of self-sufficiency.
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