Putin launched his ‘special military operation’ in Ukraine and even before, the
former KGB operative has only had one true friend among global leaders – China’s
President Xi Jinping. Now, with 40 days having elapsed since the war, which the
West maintains is an invasion, Beijing may be getting slightly jittery, about
both the consequences of the war and how the international community looks at
China in its aftermath.
Xi, the Chinese
Communist Party’s most vibrant leader since Mao Zedong, is not one to make
friends easy or build emotional bridges. But, his recent conversation with
leaders of the European Union, did indicate a softening. Political observers
say China is worried that Russia was unable to capture Kyiv even after 40 days
of war in Ukraine. Kyiv’s resistance amid the crisis was unparalleled.
At the meeting, the
Chinese President called upon the European Union (EU) to view Beijing
independently, perhaps with the motive to tell them that China should not be
viewed with the same prism as Putin’s Russia. Xi said the EU and China could
work together to build peace and effectively called upon the European
government to not look at China as the United States does.
Moscow hoped that
it would waltz in into Ukraine and Kyiv would fall without a fight. But that
was not to be. Kyiv resisted successfully ensuring that the Z army, that is the
Russian military, had to retreat. China, a trader par excellence, has put its
weight behind Russia putting its economy at risk as the Ukraine crisis has
affected global movement of goods and services. This in turn has had impact on
Beijing’s internal political dynamics.
At the inaugural
session of the Beijing Games, China and Russia entered into a no-limit
friendship. China extended support to Russia’s claims over Ukraine while Moscow
returned the favour in support for Taiwan. China now knows that if it were to
put Taiwan through what Putin put Ukraine through, it will have to endure the
wrath of NATO.