NewsWorldJosé M. de Areilza: Without limits, but not that much

José M. de Areilza: Without limits, but not that much

China and Russia agreed three weeks before the invasion of Ukraine “an alliance without limits”, which hastened the division of the northern hemisphere into two rival blocs. The regime in Beijing has watched with concern the military failure of Vladimir Putin during this first year of war. He has not supported Moscow with weapons but, as Robin Niblett has recalled, he has increased imports of Russian oil and gas and given it even greater support by fabricating a favorable story. The Chinese media justify Russian aggression on a daily basis and point to Western countries, especially NATO and the United States, as the culprits of the conflict. This narrative influences the hundreds of countries that have not aligned with one side or the other, many of which also receive Chinese help to develop. The Asian superpower overlooks the negative impact of the Ukraine war on the global economy. For now it is worth it to absorb these costs, because in its long-term strategy it aspires to have a dependent Russia that has become a seamless ally in the antagonism with the United States. Xi Jinping is not subject to the checks and balances in the party that limited the power of his predecessors. This accumulation of power allows him to make riskier bets and perform script twists without accountability to anyone, as has been his abandonment of the zero Covid policy. But if the Chinese economy does not improve its weak growth, compared to that of other years, Xi will start having more and more problems at home. Yesterday, China declared itself in favor of a political agreement in Ukraine, repeating well-known arguments. He insisted on condemning Russia’s possible use of nuclear weapons and criticized Western sanctions. But China does not seek neutrality or mediate. It does not have the diplomatic capacity for it and it lacks credibility. However, with these statements in which he does not say anything new, he hints that the alliance without limits may not be so.

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