The PRC system made Xi’s relationship with Putin personal, so do not expect any sort of about face from the PRC on relations with Russia. I have seen some wishful thinking that somehow the horrors of what Putin has unleashed will sway Xi to pull back from the February 4th joint statement (See the February 7 Sinocism “New era of international relations according to PRC and Russia”), or even that Xi will come under pressure domestically and his plans for the 20th Congress may fail.
I think the more likely scenario is that the PRC continues its claimed approach of “neutrality” as it looks for an opportunity to reap the benefits from trying to help to negotiate a settlement.
We should expect the PRC to accelerate efforts to maintain the initiative in decoupling from the US and build strategic reserves in many areas as it doubles down on hardening everything inside the country and the system that it can.
If Putin loses power over this then things could get interesting for the PRC, but so long as he is in charge I would be surprised to see Xi break with Putin over this. The helmsman has certainly steered the ship into very difficult waters.
The financial sanctions against Russia, and especially the ones against the Russian Central Bank , must have confirmed every fear of the US’s ability to wage financial war. How the PRC can protect against similar sanctions is unclear. Any ideas?
Amidst all the speculation about whether Xi did or did not in advance of the invasion, one thing is clear, that the vast majority of the PRC academic and policy pundit community was clueless.
The CPCCC and NPC meetings (the two meetings) start later this week, it will be interesting to see how the government handles messaging about the Ukraine crisis while focused domestically on the “Two Meetings”.
Today’s Essential Eight:
Liang Wannian arrives in Hong Kong as fears spread about virus and a lockdown
Commemorations for 50th anniversary of US-China Shanghai Communiqué
US support for Taiwan
24th meeting of the central commission for deepening overall reform
New studies on Covid origins
Symantec reports new PRC hack
Thanks for reading.