War in Ukraine, the puzzle of Chinese diplomacy
Don’t argue the Russian invasion of Ukraine but without condemning it. China’s insidious balancing act on war is getting more and more complicated. But to lead it is an equilibrist par excellence, Foreign Minister Wang Yi, active as never before after the initial silence (consent?) on the action in the Donbass and then moving on to the surprise of the large-scale war which, despite some reconstructions, puts Beijing in serious difficulty and risks compromising an important part of its foreign policy.
Let’s recap all the Chinese dilemmas facing the war launched by Vladimir Putinally but not too much as written by Affaritaliani in recent days. Economically: or not to provide Moscow with shelter from international sanctions without prejudice to commercial interests around the globe? On the one hand, the increase of import of wheat and energy, the result of the agreements signed recently, on the other hand, however, at least two of the largest Chinese state-owned banks are limiting funding for purchases of Russian raw materials based on their own risk assessment, even though they have not yet received explicit directives from the Chinese regulators . It is true that it could tie Moscow even more to its financial system in the event of its ouster SWIFT through the development of his CIPS, but at the same time, as already mentioned, Beijing has more to lose in the event of disengagement from the main international platform. On the other hand, the position of Chinese chip companies is more uncertain, in particular Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp, which has not yet expressed itself regarding the possible embargo of military technology towards Russia imposed by the US and accepted by Asian partners starting from Korea, Japan. and Taiwan.
At the political level: how much to repress the critical voices about Russia that have opened up on the domestic Chinese front without generating discontent? Yes, because there was an open letter from five important Chinese historians, later censored, asking: “Is it worth it for China to undermine its credibility to defend the indefensible?” And one of them added, “I’m afraid they have been duped by Putin,” pointing out that he and his colleagues wrote this letter because they love the country, and don’t want a potential global tragedy to block China’s future.
War in Ukraine, the embarrassment of the Chinese government and intelligence
But China can’t even lose face e after having hosted Putin in Beijing just a few weeks ago, he cannot admit that he was wrongor above all he cannot admit that he did not know everything, or not enough. Also beware of the sudden change of line on Chinese citizens in Ukraine: first let yourself stay and then be evacuated in a hurry. Or on the words of “sure” diplomats that Russia will not attack Ukrainian cities. All signs that intelligence did not foresee a large-scale attack, thus showing another limitation of the Chinese system.
Not to mention the miscalculation, with the presumption that Putin too would have applied the historic Chinese strategy of winning without fighting only thanks to posture and rhetoric, as written in Yun Sun’s analysis of Stimson. Which is connected to the dilemma of dilemmas, the geopolitical one: how to prevent unveiling the bluff of the partnership / not yet alliance with Russia without compromising relations with Moscow or completely cutting off those with the West?
Also because in the meantime there are effects on Asian movements. Not only does the US send destroyers to the Indo Pacific and a delegation to Taiwan to reassure the partners that their main strategic interest is in that region, but also the Japan asks Washington to get out of the strategic ambiguity of their position on Taiwan and even the timid South Korea seems to be getting closer to the US. In Seoul, however, there will be fundamental presidential elections in a week.
Quite a puzzle for Beijing. With all these contradictions difficult to solve they are disturbing not a little Xi Jinping towards the 20th Congress which should sanction his third presidential term.
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