Xi talks to (humiliated) Putin in Samarkand: no military aid on Ukraine, only the weapon of rhetoric

Great games for a new international order at the Samarkand summit. Xi – confident on the home front – will meet the leader of India, welcome Iran to the Shanghai cooperation organization, and have Turkey in the role of observer

FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT FROM BEIJING – Chinese leaders usually don’t have time for international distractions when Beijing prepares the Communist Party Congress, which is convened only every five years and decides the power structures for the next five years.

Xi Jinping’s trip, yesterday in Kazakhstan and today in Uzbekistanhe says that the general secretary is more than sure on the home front: everything has already been decided and prepared for the great liturgy of the XX Congress in October which will give him an even stronger power.

Xi can devote himself to his dream of reshaping the international order.

Vladimir Putin would have a lot to do in Moscow, powerless in the face of the weaknesses of his Army in Ukraine, worn out by command errors and logistical crisis. But he rushed to Samarkand to consult with the Chinese friend of the heart. a Tsar humiliated by military reverses who meets an Emperor (socialist with Chinese characteristics) intent on recovering the role of global statesman after three years of sanitary confinement at home.

The summit on 39 between the two and the first after that of February 4 in Beijingbecome famous and infamous for the promise of collaboration without limits
right on the eve ofRussian invasion of Ukraine
.

Still wondering what Putin had revealed to Xi about his war plan
: perhaps he had proposed a lightning attack of limited range; certainly no one expected the Russians to get bogged down in a conflict of this magnitude. The fact is that in these months Xi moved with strategic ambiguity
made more difficult to understand also due to its absence from the top in presence: he refused to call the Russian company an aggressionbut he did not even openly praise it, nor support it materially, in order not to risk the Chinese economy being involved in the game of sanctions proclaimed by the West.

China has certainly paid a price for the global economic slowdown caused by the shock of the war. Its export-import with the world dropped throughout the summer (-3.8% in exports to the USA and -7.3% in imports). the one with Russia instead increased: between January and August + 31% to 117 billion dollars; China has spent 72 billion dollars in Russia: most of the imports are gas and oil, at discounted prices. And in Moscow, Gazprom has just announced that supplies will be settled in yuan and rubles (Xi has long sought de-dollarization).

Moscow says Russia-China trade will hit a record $ 170 billion this year and will reach a symbolic $ 200 billion by 2024. The pact on gas, which includes the construction of a new Power of Siberia 2 pipeline which will still be talked about today, also to demonstrate the privileged relationship between the two countries.

But Putin makes the figure of the salesman at the Samarkand summit. While Xi Jinping wears the uniform of a federator of a new world order that hinges on Asia.

Today and tomorrow the meeting of the Shanghai cooperation organization (Sco), which brings together eight countries of the Asian region: the founding and inspiring China with Russia, and then India, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. In the four stanzas that were part of the defunct Soviet empire, China has invested heavily since 1991, when the USSR collapsed. In 2013, during a trip between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, Xi spoke for the first time in the world about his project of New Silk Roads (which later became the global Belt and Road Initiative, which promised to raise $ 1.3 trillion in 149 countries).

And yesterday Xi, making a stop in Kazakhstan, said that China will defend independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity in all circumstances. of the strategic friend stan. a not too veiled warning of Putin’s ambitions: It means Beijing will not tolerate Russia engaging in a revival of its former hegemony in the Eurasian region, explains Niva Yau, Osce researcher for Asia.

Another important face-to-face will take place between Xi and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi: the two countries have just agreed to withdraw their troops from the Himalayan border, where two years ago a battle was fought with bare hands and blows of stone that left dozens of deaths on the frozen stony ground. China tries to prevent India from getting too involved in Joe Biden’s network of alliance. Putin can only observe and applaud the moves of his Chinese comrade and be pleased that Samarkand will be sanctioned entry into the Shanghai Organization of Iran, another country that creates problems for the United States. Useful in Moscow too Erdogan’s presence as an observer of Turkey.

As for the unlimited collaboration promised in February by the Chinese, it seems that the limits of Beijing’s prudent and long-term planning are evident. Moscow cannot expect military relief or large supplies of war material: that’s why he turned to North Korea to buy millions of artillery shells and rockets. But of course there is also the weapon of rhetoric. And the latest Chinese maneuvers suggest that Xinow that he has put in place every tile for the home match of the 20th October Congress, may and want to spend a few sentences in favor of poor Vladimir Putin in trouble on the fields of Ukraine.

Last week Li Zhanshu, No. 3 of the Beijing Politburo, went to Russia and said that China understands and supports the need for all measures taken by Moscow to protect its national interests when the United States and NATO tried to lock her in a corner on her front door (obviously Ukraine, ed); we are providing assistance, Comrade Li concluded. Vague word assistance.

The fact that so far China has granted political and moral support, but is careful not to provide military means or to circumvent economic sanctions, confirms Amanda Hsiao, analyst of Crisis Group, a strategy think tank based in Brussels and explains: This line reflects the balancing act between China’s strategic and economic interests, with the latter continuing to lead Beijing’s positioning at this stage.

September 15, 2022 (change September 15, 2022 | 11:14)

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Xi talks to (humiliated) Putin in Samarkand: no military aid on Ukraine, only the weapon of rhetoric


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