Home Featured For China-Russia relations, Fatalism is not an option

For China-Russia relations, Fatalism is not an option

For China-Russia relations, Fatalism is not an option

By Ryan Hass

Chinese leader Xi Jinping plans to visit Moscow for his 40th face-to-face meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. This visit will occur roughly one year after Russia invaded Ukraine and against the backdrop of reports that China is considering providing lethal assistance to Russia’s military.

Over the past year, China has expanded trade links with Russia and amplified Russian propaganda. Chinese authorities have defended Russia’s actions and accused NATO and the West of fomenting war in Ukraine. Unsurprisingly, American and European public opinion of China has plummeted. China’s embrace of Russia throughout its invasion of Ukraine certainly contributed to this trend.

Even so, as Xi’s upcoming visit makes clear, Beijing remains firmly committed to growing its relationship with Moscow. Some ascribe this orientation to Xi’s strong personal bond with Putin. This may play a small role. Xi has, after all, described Putin as his “best friend.” Even so, in my personal experiences around Xi and my study of his leadership over the past decade, Xi has proven himself to be uniquely unsentimental. He is a cold-blooded calculator of his and his country’s interests above all else.

China’s three…

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