China Gets Burned by Russia’s Ukraine Invasion

The budding partnership between Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping looks increasingly one-sided.

Did Xi Jinping Get Played by Putin on Ukraine? — Matthew Brooker

If the “no limits” partnership announced between China and Russia on the eve of the Winter Olympics amounted to a blueprint for a new world order, it’s already looking a little frayed around the edges. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has left Beijing struggling to straddle a line between its cardinal foreign-policy principle of respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, and support for an ally. That discomfort has set off a flurry of speculation over what China knew about President Vladimir Putin’s intentions.

Whatever the conclusion, it doesn’t look flattering for Chinese President Xi Jinping. Russia’s aggression has led to international isolation, galvanized a united front of opposition across Europe, the U.S. and beyond, and sent ripples through financial markets. Even a pro-Russian autocratic leader such as Hungary’s Viktor Orban has agreed to back sanctions against Moscow. Was Beijing aware of Putin’s plans and went ahead with its pact with Russia regardless, hitching itself to a country that was about to turn into a pariah? The alternative explanation is that Putin kept his hand hidden. If that’s the case, it hardly helps to burnish Xi’s reputation as a master strategist steering China’s path back to greatness, in a year when he will seek a precedent-breaking third leadership term.

Author: Brooke Sample, Bloomberg

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