Xi Jinping, the Chinese
President, has a Sophie’s choice to make. While Beijing has, at least until
now, shown support for Russia’s “special military operation” in Ukraine, its
trade relations with the West, particularly after US President Joe Biden
threatened China with sanctions if it helped the Russian war effort, will be weighing
on Xi’s mind.

Moscow is Beijing’s
strategic ally, its all-weather friend. But keeping the friendship with Russia
may prove detrimental to China’s extensive economic interests in Western
democracies, according to an analysis carried out by Reuters. The European
Union and the United States buy nearly a third of Chinese exports.

Qin Gang, China’s
ambassador to the United States on Sunday, said, “China has normal trade,
economic, financial energy cooperation within the Russia,” Gang said at CBS’s “Face
the Nation”, Next, he was asked if China would provide financial aid to Moscow.
“These are small businesses between two sovereign countries, based on
international laws, including World Trade Organization rules,” Gang said.

However, actually targeting
Beijing with sanctions will prove detrimental to the United States, since China
is the world’s second-largest economy and the largest exporter. Over the last
two decades, the Chinese economy has risen by $16 trillion. It’s dependent on
trade with other countries for its economic well-being.

The wealthy G7
countries, who have come together in support of Ukraine, consume over a-third
of Chinese exports. However, Europe’s China-dependency has come down since Russia
annexed Ukraine in 2014. Meanwhile, China has been extending its export
influence to other regions.

Chinese shares of
exports to Association of Southeast Asian Nations [ASEAN] has doubled to nearly
15%, eclipsing Japan in importance. Further, Moscow’s external trade with Beijing
has only increased since the annexation of Crimea in 2014.

Major Russian
imports from China are cellphones, computers, apparels and toys. China imports
oil from Russia. At $27 billion in 2020, crude oil and other petroleum products
dwarf all other imports from Russia. Main commodities, include: copper,
softwood lumber, liquefied natural gas, coal, metals and ores.