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Putin meets Xi The cards of world politics could be reshuffled. & More Latest News Here

 

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese leader Xi Jinping at their last meeting in February. On September 15-16, Russia and China are expected to deepen ties at a summit in Uzbekistan.

Alexei Druzhinin, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP/KEYSTONE

Vladimir Putin and Chinese leader Xi Jinping meet in Uzbekistan to intensify their partnership. And it’s not just about gas.

China’s head of state Xi Jinping has not been abroad since the beginning of the Corona crisis. He is now traveling to Uzbekistan to meet Vladimir Putin, among others, at a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).

How close are China and Russia really?

To this day, Western countries have found it difficult to assess China’s position on the Ukraine conflict. The Chinese leadership has neither approved nor condemned Putin’s invasion of the neighboring country, which violates international law, and avoids the term “war”. Instead, China emphasized its neutral stance.

Nevertheless, the two major powers have not only come closer politically but also economically in recent years – and most recently renewed their neighborhood agreement last year.

epa10114393 US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, along with the Congressional delegation that traveled to Taiwan, speaks to the media about their trip in the US Capitol in Washington, DC, USA, 10 August 2022. During Pelosi's press conference, images from their trip to the Indo-Pacific region played on TV monitors. EPO/JIM LO SCALZO
With her visit to Taiwan, Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the US House of Representatives, caused diplomatic upsets with China.

EPO/JIM LO SCALZO/KEYSTONE

In addition, the two major powers are united by their negative attitude towards the USA. The visit to Taiwan by Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the US House of Representatives, may have further strengthened China’s willingness to enter into a closer partnership with Russia.

“China and Russia share the same attitude towards Western practice”

At the SCO summit in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, on September 15 and 16, the cards of world politics could be reshuffled. In addition to China and Russia, representatives of Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Pakistan and India will also attend the meeting.

While the Russian-Chinese military maneuver “Wostock 2022” caused irritation on the western side at the beginning of September, the words of the Chinese Communist Party’s foreign representative, Yang Jiechi, in a conversation with Andrei Denisov, the Russian ambassador in Beijing, are not necessarily reassuring: China plans to take the international order with Russia “in a more just and rational direction”.

Amphibious tanks and Marine Corps soldiers rush to the beachhead in an amphibious landing drill during the third phase of the Sino-Russian
Joint military maneuvers by Russia and China are nothing new. Nevertheless, given the current tense world situation, they cause concern. Here is a scene from the Chinese-Russian “Peace Mission 2005” on the Chinese peninsula of Shandong.

AP Photo/Xinhua, Li Gang/KEYSTONE

The regime in Beijing also sees the close alliance with Russia as a “global security initiative” against the four-way alliance that Washington, Japan, Australia and India have formed in response to Chinese power politics.

Li Xin, director of the Institute of European and Asian Studies at the Shanghai University of Political Science and Law, also strikes a clear note towards the West: “China and Russia share the same attitude towards the Western practice of imposing sanctions and the regimes of other countries to fall.”

Russia delivers gas at a bargain price

Now that Russia has turned off the gas tap to Europe via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, attempts are now being made to find willing buyers for the raw material in Asia – and according to Bloomberg, China is offering gas at half the spot market price. But will Russia be able to compensate for the financial losses caused by western embargoes?

Prof. Dr. Ralph Weber, China expert at the Institute for European Global Studies at the University of Basel, is skeptical about “blue News”: “Shortly before the attack on Ukraine, Russia and China concluded an agreement on another gas pipeline. From 2024/25, 10 billion cubic meters of gas denominated in euros will be delivered to China annually for 30 years via a new pipeline. Even if you take existing gas supplies into account and quickly build additional capacity, you would still probably be under Nord Stream’s capacity for a long time.”

India as a shaky candidate between the worlds

But the summit in Shanghai raises even more questions: How will India position itself in global politics in the near future? Prof. Ralph Weber: “In terms of security policy, the emergence of two global blocs, which also represent different areas of norms, has been observed for a long time. However, how this bloc formation will develop in a global economy that is enormously intertwined at the same time remains highly uncertain. India, which plays on both sides, deserves special attention.”

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, right, hugs Russian President Vladimir Putin before their meeting in New Delhi, India, Friday, Oct. 5, 2018. Putin arrived in India on Thursday for a two-day visit during which India is expected to sign a $5 billion deal to buy Russian S-400 air defense systems despite a new US law ordering sanctions on any country trading with Russia's defense and intelligence sectors. (Yuri Kadobnov/Pool Photo via AP)
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Vladimir Putin. How India will position itself vis-à-vis Russia and the West in the future remains unclear.

AP Photo/Xinhua, Li Gang/KEYSTONE

How could a close friendship between Russia and China affect Europe?

In view of the close ties between Europe and the Chinese market, it is difficult to foresee the direction in which developments will take place in the coming months and years.

Similar to the EU’s dependence on Russian gas, there have been voices in the past who have warned against becoming too closely tied to China. Bernhard Bartsch, Head of External Relations at the Mercator Institute for China Studies, said in April in the phoenix daily talk: “There is a great danger that China, like Russia, would exploit these dependencies against us – or is already doing so. We have to take a very close look at our dependencies with China and reduce them where they really threaten us in terms of security policy.”

The economic relations between Switzerland and China are therefore currently under scrutiny. Prof. Ralph Weber: “What a closer rapprochement between China and Russia ultimately means for Switzerland and the EU certainly also depends on the outcome of the war in Ukraine. A potentially weakened Russia is actually not really convenient for China. Either way, the geopolitical developments of recent years have significantly complicated global economic relations.»

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