Despite all latest among Washington’s repeat warnings to Beijing against strategic or military cooperation with Moscow, China is now pledging to “join forces” with “like-minded” partner Russia to defend national interests. The statement came by the close of the first day of the director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the Communist Party of China’s Central Committee Wang Yi’s trip to Moscow.
The positive and glowing statements amid the high-level visit comes at a crucial juncture in which Moscow needs a powerful backer in its corner which also holds a seat on the national security council. The war in Ukraine is days away from reaching its one-year mark since the invasion began.
Beijing has of late expressed its desire for warring parties to reach negotiated peaceful settlement in Ukraine. This could be focus of President Xi Jinping’s upcoming trip to Russia. While news of the future trip broke Tuesday, President Putin confirmed Wednesday that it will happen – a very significant symbolic first since the Ukraine invasion.
Relatedly, Friday will see China’s proposed peace plan for Ukraine. Any such attempt should be applauded, but the question is on whose terms. Western observers remain skeptical the plan will see any concrete details, while rumours are also flying China may threaten to do for Russia what the US is doing for Ukraine, amplified by the news that Xi Jinping will visit Moscow soon.
In short, the most logical probability is that neither the China peace plan nor the upcoming Xi visit to Moscow provide anything new. In which case, Ukraine escalation, inflation, and global polarisation it is. Yet the fact that we have a war in Ukraine at all should underline that the fat tail risks are of something even worse – a scenario we originally flagged in our Ukraine meta crisis report in early 2022.