Date: 24 April 2023 Author: Grzegorz Kuczyński

China Hails Stronger Ties with Russia

If anyone hoped Beijing could mitigate Russia’s stance on Ukraine, it now seems that it is quite the opposite as China is embracing a new stance on Russia, fearful of Moscow’s military defeat. Beijing has sought to portray itself as a neutral party in the Ukraine conflict, although it is increasingly favorable to Moscow. So far China has helped Russia politically while offering a lifeline––Beijing has increased purchases of Russian exports––but the signs are that the Chinese government could supply Moscow with military aid, too.


Li Shangfu met the Russian president on his first trip overseas in the role of Chinese defense minister. In the April 16 meeting also attended by Russia’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, Putin welcomed military cooperation between Russia and China. In opening remarks, Putin called the cooperation between Moscow and Beijing in the military sphere “successful and diverse,” noting that the military departments of the two countries regularly exchange information and conduct joint exercises. The Chinese defense minister said ties between Russia and China “surpass the military-political alliances of the cold war era”, while not being targeted at any other countries. Putin met the new Chinese defense minister a few weeks after Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Moscow. Li Shangfu had been previously included in the U.S. sanctions list amid the military cooperation of the Chinese army with Moscow. His appointment as defense minister in March 2023 was considered beneficial for Russia. Li has been notorious for his hawkish views on the Chinese military. No details of what was discussed at the meeting were disclosed. In Ukraine and Western states, concerns are rising over China’s potential willingness to offer military aid to Russia, which now seems unlikely. Yet both states benefit from flourishing economic ties that work well for China while providing a lifeline to the Russian economy, already on the brink of collapse amid Western sanctions. This just raises the ire of Western states. China’s foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin on April 21 insisted that no country has the right to interfere in its relationship with Russia, commenting on U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen’s remarks that China’s support for Russia was a worrisome indication that it is not serious about ending the war. The Chinese foreign ministry stated that Russia-China cooperation was not targeted at any state. The Chinese government refused to condemn the Russian invasion of Ukraine, calling it either a “crisis” or a “Ukrainian issue.”

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TAGS: energetyka, Inicjatywa Trójmorza, energia elektryczna, sieć powiązań, Unia Europejska 

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